A “Brave” New Movie *Spoiler free*

First off, I get to call bragging rights. Pixar fans: I saw the Pizza Planet truck for the first time in the theaters. Yes, it is in Brave, believe it or not.

So the wait is over, and the weekend was a good one. Sarabeth and I saw Brave and loved it. It was worth every penny. The critics are being hard on it because it’s not as somber as Toy Story 3 or as “inventive” as Wall-E. Well, I did get choked up a couple of times, and you know what? It was actually refreshing to spend an hour and a half in the familiar territory of a good old fashioned Disney fairytale. So the only reason one would be disappointed with Brave is if one is expecting the edginess of The Incredibles or the sophistication of Ratatouille. Brave is a brand new fairytale; nothing less, nothing more. Go into it expecting that, and you will be more than pleased.

So let’s address some issues about the themes in the movie. If I weren’t familiar with Pixar and I were a parent, I would be quite hesitant bringing my child to see Brave. The trailers make it look like Merida, the main character, defies her parents and gets away with it. True, she does defy her parents, but she suffers great consequences for it. Parents need not be concerned. This isn’t The Little Mermaid where the princess disobeys her naïve and racist father and lives happily ever after with prince charming. As far as themes and lessons go, I prefer my kids watching Brave any day.

Now let’s talk about the feminist issues in the movie. There are none. Who started the rumor that this was going to be all about feminism? And who planted the idea in people’s minds that all Disney movies are feministic? The only gender-switching I see comes from the Shrek franchise over at Dreamworks and I don’t see people complaining about that. In fact, Pixar has gotten sued multiple times by feminist groups because they don’t meet their agenda or taste preferences. Brave is not a retaliatory response in compliance with the feminist movement. It’s simply a story about a young woman who would rather see the world and explore it before settling down and getting married. She is all girl, and – I think – a great role model for the love-sick vampire-craving adolescents today. Brave shows that you don’t have to have prince charming in your life in order to be content.

If anything, Brave is more about the relationship between mother and daughter than anything else. And there’s enough action and suspense that young boys will embrace it, regardless. Even for a fairytale, it comes at the right time. Merida’s mother, though good intentioned, does not listen to her daughter, or even hear her out. I think she’s a perfect representation of today’s media-saturated mother, who ignores her kids by keeping her nose in her i-pad or talking more on Facebook than to her kids. If that’s you, then let this movie hit home for you. Let it open up your eyes to what your missing in your child’s life, and let it teach you how your child needs you to listen and be apart of their life.

I can go on and on about Brave. As soon as we walked out of the theater I told Sarabeth that I want to go back and see it again right then. It was just so satisfying as a movie. As soon as we got home I made sure that there was room in my Pixar collection for Brave. It will be a very fine addition, which I look forward to revisiting many times. And the soundtrack? As usual with Pixar scores, it’s breathtaking. And even the new songs by Julie Fowlis (and Mumford and Sons) are a perfect mix of Celtic lore and contemporary pop.

I only had two complaints about Brave. The first one is kind of petty. I just wished they would have shown more of the bear Mor’du. He was awesome and ferocious, like the cave troll in The Lord of the Rings. But, being an animated movie (primarily) geared toward kids, I can understand why his screen time was limited. The second complaint is best summed up from this review I read here:

Still, while Brave is admirable for dazzling visuals, excellent voice work, and honorable themes, some scenes work better than others. There’s a surprisingly implausible sequence in which Merida must create a diversion so somebody can sneak into her family’s castle — funny, but poorly executed. On matters of love and freedom, the movie turns downright preachy, failing the “show, don’t tell” test.

When die-hard Pixar fans come to this scene, they will realize a particular truth about Pixar: They preach, but never with words. This is the first time Pixar has broken that rule, and it is a bit disheartening. But really, it’s a three to four minute sequence, of little consequence to the film as a whole.

See Brave. Take your kids (not suggested for four or younger, as some scenes even had me on the edge of my seat, and Sarabeth jumped at least once). It’s a great movie for the family in which every member can walk away having been taught a valuable lesson unique to each family role. And the cool thing abut it is, when it’s over, you’ll feel like you really were running through a Scottish forest and were given an extensive and intimate tour of a real-life castle (don’t be surprised if you sniff your fingers to see if you can smell the granite from the stone walls). The animation is that dazzling and life-like.

Disclaimer: There is some rude humor, but I wouldn’t deem it as inappropriate or offensive. Let’s just say a lot of guys lose their kilts and are running away from the screen.

Like to review books? Follow my suspense/fantasy novel to be released late 2012, The Man in the Box

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About adoptingjames
My lovely wife and I are foster parents, dog owners, home owners, and Christians. I am a blogger, book editor, and author. On my blog you'll read about adoption, faith topics, inspirational thoughts, and a whole lotta Disney/Pixar lovin'! For the most exciting read ever, check out my suspense/adventure novel, The Man in the Box. You. Will. Love it.

11 Responses to A “Brave” New Movie *Spoiler free*

  1. senatorbrett says:

    1. Mumford and Sons, love ‘em. 2. If my father were a racist… I’d have no problem defying him. 3. Is it as funny as it looks? 4. I’m a big fan of Pixar, but I always have to wait for my niece’s schedule to clear so I can go with her because I don’t want to be the creepy middle-aged guy going by himself to a kid’s movie!

  2. katybrandes says:

    Admitting first that I haven’t seen “Brave” yet, we will definitely do so based on your recommendation and what I’d heard so far about it. It is refreshing, in my opinion, to finally see a Disney flick that doesn’t exclude the mother or make a monster out of the older female role. No evil witch or sea hag, at least I hope. A clueless mother learning and growing is totally palatable!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, btw.

  3. tallie99 says:

    I cannot wait to see Brave it looks amazing :)

  4. Your review made me want to see it even more! Can’t wait. :D

  5. southernjohnson says:

    Definitely can’t wait to see it! Pixar movies are the best!

  6. will have to watch the movie :)
    i so love brave women movies.

  7. joshnaugle says:

    Great review. I was glad you mentioned the feminist issue. I just read about that on another blog yesterday and nearly fell out of my chair. Sometimes we just have to let kids movies be about the story and for kids. My son is three and this was his first movie. I am going to make a blog on his first movie experience. He enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t take anyone younger than him…

  8. mamanne says:

    My 14 yr old daughter saw it with some friends and LOVED it! She said it’s an awesome mother/daughter story. I am going to take her to see it again because I want to see it… nice to hear that others enjoyed it as well!

  9. This movie looks like it could be a change from the usual CGI fun times. I mean it’s okay to have a family film, but switch it up now and then. Bring some different emotions into the matter, and send a different message. Kids, and even people, won’t progress being pounded with the same thing every single time.

  10. Nannette says:

    Hello to every one, the contents existing at this web page are in fact remarkable for people knowledge, well, keep up the good
    work fellows.

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