Sorry for the lack of updates this week. I’ve been meaning to write this particular post since last Wednesday, but life has been rather chaotic. I hope to fall into a MWF schedule starting this week.
First off, my first review at Steampunk Chronicle went up last week! I reviewed Verdant by Emerald Rose, and it has gone over rather well. Read it here! The next review should be going up rather soon.
Anyway, I want to talk about one of my most anticipated movies of 2012 today. A gorgeous looking film set in the Scottish Highlands and will surely be one of the three films to be the source of an archery trend among young children.
Ladies, gentlemen, and those not in the binary… Let’s talk about Brave.
Brave marks a lot of firsts for Pixar. Their first film co-directed by a woman, their first film to star a female protagonist, their first fairy tale/princess movie, and their first film released since the death of former CEO Steve Jobs. It’s also the first original story to be released by Pixar since 2009’s Up. I’ve been eagerly anticipating this film for a while now, and it just grows with every image that’s released and every argument I get into with film students over it.
So this past week was like Christmas for me.
Last Tuesday, Pixar released three new images from the film, further detailing how gorgeous this film will be, how far Pixar has come since the first Toy Story, and that John Lasseter knows people who know how to animate gorgeous hair.
(No lie, I actually said, “Finally! A princess with my hair!”)
Then, on Wednesday, Pixar released a full length trailer for the film.
Cue my Hunger Games style crying all over again.
It’s obvious that this story is going to be a bit more traditional in comparison to Pixar’s past films, but there’s still plenty of Pixar in there to make it stand out. The scenery is gorgeous, the characters are lively, and there’s still plenty of humor to go around. Not to mention a great cast that is actually Scottish. I thanked the Gods of Film when Reese Witherspoon was replaced by Kelly MacDonald as Princess Merida…
Of course, Disney has created some sort of stigma around the word ‘Princess’. Many have already started acting like they know how the film will go or that Disney has somehow corrupted Pixar. Which just makes me wonder why. How is having a movie about a fiery Scottish princess who practices archery and goes on a journey to discover what bravery really means a bad thing? If it was a Prince, would Brave still be getting the same naysayers?
I once got into an argument with a friend of mine who doubted the film because of it’s more traditional story and the fact there was a female protagonist. That Pixar’s movies were “men’s stories” disguised as family films. He has now changed his stance on the film, but only because of the presence of Billy Connolly.
I… didn’t quite agree with him. At all.
Females often don’t get to be the star of the adventure. Especially not in family films. They’re the plucky friends or the love interest of the main charismatic male. Sometimes both at once. Sometimes, they’re even the antagonist. Disney’s last few Princess films have turned this on its head by allowing the main female protagonist to go on an adventure with her budding love interest, helping create a Princess for a more modern age.
However, for Brave, there doesn’t seem to be a double protagonist in sight. Here it’s Merida’s fight to change her fate and save her kingdom. Here, it’s Merida fighting for her own freedom and the right to NOT be married off. For this, I want to quote Fionna the Human Girl from Adventure Time.
“I think the reason I got all these guy friends and no boyfriend is because I don’t really wanna date any of ’em. I don’t need to feel like I’m waiting to be noticed. I know who I am and I’ll know what I want if and when it ever comes along.”
This is a message I wish I heard when I was younger and if Merida can carry that message across the way I think she can, then maybe Princess Merida can be the princess those fiercely independent girls need.
Either way, I’ll be the first in line on June 22nd to see Merida succeed.