Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Disney Film: Pixar's BRAVE

I went to see this one over the 4th of July holiday, when the temps in Chicago were hitting 100 degrees.  Didn't know what to expect; the previews really didn't get me that excited about the story, but after Up I vowed to never doubt Pixar again.  (Still, some bits of doubt were creeping in.  Cars 2 was good but didn't knock me out.)

What I found was a movie with the same "heart" as Up, to go along with the same degree of humor and the same great story.  The story of Merida, a headstrong teenaged princess in feudal Scotland, seemed to me to be brimming with true-to-life, if exaggerated, qualities of teens and parents everywhere.  Merida wants to determine her own path, and her mother wants her to do what she is required by law to do.  Merida's wishes (like many a teen in real life) that her mother treat her more like a person and less like an object or a slave (from the teen's point of view) are taken a bit too literally by the overzealous witch in the woods (or is she just evil?  Not sure!) and Merida's desire to "change" her mother does not work out the way she wants it to. 

I read a review, just before seeing the film, that Merida was Pixar's first attempt at a female heroine, and in creating her they fall into the trap of making her too like other Disney princesses.  Could she be Rapunzel?  Tiana?  Belle?  Jasmine?  I don't know.  She didn't "feel" like those others to me.  This wasn't a classic fairy tale to me.  It was more a story about the evolution of a daughter's (or even a son's) relationship with her mother (or parents in general).  I felt there was some depth to it, especially for my pre-teen kids, who loved the movie. 

The three little brothers provided much welcome comic relief, and they were my kids' favorite characters.  The caricatures that served as the men of the other clans were also quite humorous, maybe more to me.  There weren't a lot of jokes aimed over the heads of the kids to the adults in the audience (like there are in a lot of Dreamworks' pictures - and I do appreciate that about Dreamworks products). 

I think it was a worthwhile addition to the Pixar collection of movies, and while not quite reaching the heights that I felt Up reached, it was a nice way to spend an afternoon in the hot city!


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