Excellent! Really dont get the hate
Unlike, Im guesing, a lot of people, I saw Brave without expectations, having seen the trailer once or twice. I was pleasantly suprised by a warm, emotionally complex film. Merida is entertaining, all characters are grounded in real emotions and there are no hammy villians with nonsense motives. In fact, there are no true villians, only people that made eveything worse by not explaining themselves properly.
I read a lot of reviews calling Merida's badassery into question. Maybe it doesn't seem badass because Merida is a realistic brave girl, not a superhero, and that in this universe, royal actions really have royal consequences for all the kingdom, and that means almost starting a war of succesion, something Ariel never had to face after she ran off with a guy she'd known for 3 days. If The Little Mermaid were remade by Pixar, they would actually explore a bit what it actually means to pull Ariel's stunt and think of the implications. Merida IS a princess but in real terms; she has to be queen and actually rule a kingdom, and that means politics and taking the long view. That's the lesson Merida has to learn when she realises she's being selfish. But her mom also learns to listen and to explain herself, not just impose her will, nillywilly. Mom hadn't explained the politics behind her decitions, only sewing and good manners. That's not good enough for a future queen.
I know a lot of reviewers expected epic battles, but I think "Braves" shows that brute force only takes you so far. Being aware of consequences and thinking 3 steps ahead is a better lesson to learn, but not as showy as fancy batttles. I know its a heavy lesson in an amimated movies, but still. Humans don't kill dragons, but they do navigate through an emotionally complex world, and that's more dangerous than a dragon and requires a different kind of bravery. Its not as simple as crying "independent woman with a bow, fuck yeah!" and calling it a day. I think people expected more escapism from Pixar, but their real bread and butter have always been complex relationships, only they are dressed up as superheroes and fish.
Needless to say, I think this is my favorite Pixar movie. The real fault might be marketing, because stading alone, its belongs up there with er, 'Up' and 'Toy Story 3'.
PS "Cars" still sucks.
Good review. I agree for the most part, but I liked "Cars". "Cars 2" on the other hand...
24th Jun 12
Very well said, agreed 100%. And to support your point about why the movie isn't about epic battles: the big misunderstanding in the movie, about the bear being Elinor, almost leads to her being killed by her own husband, all in the name of violence being the automatic answer. The whole scene with the lords where Merida calms them down and maintains peace by reminding them of when they were there for each other is all about showing them they are stronger together, defending each other, spreading peace throughout the land instead of war. And the big problem with Elinor is her constantly slipping into the violent bear personality, one which she must resist lest she lose herself entirely. In the end she's forced to become violent to protect Merida...and the result is her losing herself; if it hadn't been for Merida's genuine contrition and love, Elinor would have stayed a mindless bear the rest of her life. And of course let's not forget the prince who started it all by becoming Mor'du first divided the kingdom into war because he tried to claim what he wanted by violence, and then he wanted to have "the strength of ten men" to help him carry out more violence—which he got all right, by killing his whole family and destroying the kingdom. A powerful lesson, and Brave teaches it well—Anviliciously at times, but well.
28th Jun 12
2nd Jul 12
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4th Jul 12
But that's discounting the number of times Merida came through for her mother - including raising a sword against her own father and king. I think the greater underlying theme in respect to who saves whom is that a family comes through for one another; from Fergus literally putting himself between Mor'du and his family to the triplets doing their bit without charge during the climax. Even the other clans (in as much as the four clans making a figurative family akin to the four brothers of the old legend) did not hesitate in rallying to Fergus' call for vengeance when he thought the bear killed Elinor.
5th Jul 12
@Ingonyama: I didn't say it was bad. In fact, you quoted me
saying it wasn't bad. I didn't dislike this movie, I was just disappointed that the plot wasn't more original. Yes, family bonds are a good moral, and a mother and daughter story is nothing to shy away from, it's just that Brave
really didn't add enough to the template to make the story its own.
The most creative change was making the mother a bear, and I think that actually hurt the story more than it helped because it reduced the mother to an animal sidekick. Yes, she still has her own character, but since she can't talk we never really learn anything more about her. Like, what was she like when she was Merida's age? We got a brief mention that she had her own doubts about marrying Merida's father, but that's never expanded upon. This lack of second act development of the queen's character also hurts the climax because there's no unique bond between Merida and the queen, only the fact that they're mother and daughter. They haven't bonded because they've realized they're not so different, or because they finally understand each other. They bond because they... caught fish together?
Yes, there are some elements there. The scene where Merida uses her mother's story to avert a war and the queen lets her out of the marriage tradition shows that they've reached a compromise and at least some understanding, but there was no real build up to it. It seems like the queen just spontaneously changed her mind because the plot said so.
Actually, now that I type this, I think that's my real issue with the movie. It's not as much that the plot was generic, it's that the relationship between the mother and daughter, the centerpiece of the movie, just never developed enough for me. I didn't really feel the reconciliation. I didn't feel the regret. Even when Merida was crying that everything was her fault, for some reason it still didn't feel like she was taking responsibility.
In the end, the relationship between the mother and daughter is what needs to carry the story in this kind of plot, and Brave
never really got there for me.
5th Jul 12
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24th Jul 12
Yes she is saved by her mother... that at the moment is a FREAKING HUGE BEAR... and from what? a BIGGER MEANER BEAR. You know, you can be as baddass as you want but sometimes THERE ARE limits to what you can manage... and Merida is still PLENTY baddass.
6th Oct 12
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