*What follows is not exactly a review, just my take on Disney-Pixar’s Brave. It may or may not contain spoilers (depends on your definition of spoiler, really).*
Brave is the story of Merida, a princess who prefers riding, exploring and archery to her “proper” duties and her mother, who wants her daughter to grow into a great queen and carry on the ancient traditions of the land. The two cannot see eye to eye and it sparks a conflict that could tear the kingdom apart.
This film is gorgeous. I have to get that out of the way because it’s really the best feature of the movie. Merida’s wild, red hair is astounding. The views of Scotland from high pinnacles of rock to dark, magical forest will blow you away.
Indeed, there was much to love about this movie but…(and I’m probably the only one in my family that has any bones to pick) it didn’t draw me in like Nemo or Up. I think I might have been on the verge of getting misty at one or two points but I wasn’t on the edge of my seat. I didn’t feel the depth and the layers I hoped for.
There were possibilities. Oh, the possibilities. The elements of Merida’s story and the ancient conflict that almost destroyed the land before could have been woven into a spectacular tapestry. The mending of the rift between Merida and her mother could have mirrored the mending of the ancient rift (Mor’du’s story) between the clans. The movie almost went there…but not quite.
Then there’s the portrayal of men as oafs, brutes, or bumblers. Even Merida’s father falls into the lovable but bumbling brute category. I would have liked to see a more balanced portrayal of the sexes. Certainly that could be done without a romance angle. Merida didn’t need a Prince Charming but it would have been nice to see a formidable male character (unless you count Mor’du, the demon bear).
Which leads me to my other bone to pick…where exactly was the Villain? Yes, Mor’du was a scary villan but he never felt like The Villain.
But…all of this may just be a matter of personal preference. There are those who loved the film for what it was. Being a Pixar film, it had a wow factor that’s hard to top. There were themes at work that aren’t often seen with a “Princess” movie, the mother – daughter dynamic, selfishness versus self-sacrifice, what is good for society versus what is good for the individual, etc. A strong heroine coupled with the lack of a romance angle was a big plus. But did it all add up to something magic…I’m not sure.
What do you think? Did Brave touch your heart or was it missing something? What do you think of Pixar’s first female protagonist? What do you think the message of the film was and did it come across well?
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