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.
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