Posts tagged ‘Artist’s Picks’

July 9, 2012

Brave Review

***SPOILER ALERT***: My reviews are intended to get art-observers to engage with what they have already seen and heard and may include some spoilers.  So if you haven’t seen Brave yet, and don’t want to know what happens, you probably don’t want to read this post.

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“My son, keep your father’s commands
    and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
Bind them upon your heart forever;
    fasten them around your neck. 
 When you walk, they will guide you;
    when you sleep, they will watch over you;
    when you awake, they will speak to you.
For these commands are a lamp,
    this teaching is a light,
and the corrections of discipline
    are the way to life.”

~Proverbs 6:20-23

Brave is a moral tale. It is a call to abandon pride and self-sustenance for selflessness and community, as with Pixar’s Wall-E except Brave is set in Scotland’s dark ages instead of the future and is presented through a mother-daughter relationship instead of a lonely robot.

I found the following particularly commendable:

– Legends (stories, movies, and in our case, art) teach lessons. This is what I love about Pixar: they are always trying to get something across. (Mind you, I don’t always agree with it, but at least they are trying). This story in particular teaches about how destructive and divisive pride can be and how humility can heal and unite.

– Merida is not ready to get married. Not in a “she wouldn’t be a good wife because she’s not a lady” kind of way, she’s just not emotionally ready to be in that kind of relationship. She’s no less strong, beautiful, or interesting, and the movie gets that across. Her not being ready to get married isn’t portrayed as a slight against her, like it is in a lot of movies today. (Thank you, Pixar).

-Merida is flawed. She doesn’t do her chores singing sweetly like Cinderella and Snow White – in fact, she’s not thrilled about her duties as a lady at all. She actually has to go through a learning process to be more willing to give up what she wants for what is best for everybody.

-Merida and Elinor both have to learn to understand each other. (Yeah, I know. Someday if I have a daughter this is going to come back to haunt me). Merida is certainly self-centered, and it falls to Elinor to try to get her to see beyond herself. Merida is stubborn, doesn’t listen, and gets herself and Elinor into a situation where she has to yield and give up some of the things she wants. Elinor helps Merida get out of the predicament, and in the process, learns the value of being a fighter. Mostly though, Elinor is right. (And so are my parents).

The animation was good, but I thought the character development could have been deeper and the storyline could have been far less predictable. I know it’s intended to be a children’s movie on some level, but I felt that development-wise, Brave reminded me more of Dreamworks than Pixar. 

Overall, I liked Brave. It reminded me of my own relationship with my mom. I would have liked the male characters to have been stronger – not dominating by any means, but more than narcissistic showboaters. Ah well. I guess you can’t have it all. (Until I start making movies, and then we will have it all, haha).

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Lydia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Television and Film. She is passionate about reaching artists for Jesus Christ. She is also a lot like Merida.

June 7, 2012

Artist’s Pick: Mirror, Mirror versus Snow White and the Huntsman

“I find more bitter than death
    the woman who is a snare,
whose heart is a trap
    and whose hands are chains.
The man who pleases God will escape her,
    but the sinner she will ensnare.”

~Ecclesiastes 7:26

I’ve already somewhat analyzed Mirror, Mirror in Cross-Examination: Profile of a Witch. Today I want to revisit  part of that analysis, but compare it instead to Snow White and the Huntsman.

Growing up, Snow White never was one of my favorite Disney Princesses (or even Grimm Princesses). No, I’m a Cinderella kind of girl.  However, I enjoyed both Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman more than I’ve enjoyed the “real” adaptations of Cinderella. Both adaptations follow the traditional Snow White story – you know, beautiful (but evil) queen will do anything to hold on to her beauty.

The art direction in Mirror, Mirror is bright and extravagant, mirroring (no pun intended) its more comedic and ridiculous storyline.   On the other hand, Snow White and the Huntsman‘s art direction is toned down – with costuming and coloring befitting the Middle Ages.  In a couple of instances, it discreetly nods to the animated Disney movie – like when Snow White is running through the forest with trees and shadows clawing at her and Ravenna’s crown and the ravens associated with her magic. Both movies have interesting but distinct takes on the Magic Mirror. Both also use the dwarves for comic relief (which is a separate analysis all together).

I enjoyed both movies (really), but I liked Snow White and the Huntsman better. It did a really good job with character development (with the exception of the dwarves who were significantly under-developed).

I especially appreciated how they dealt with Ravenna’s obsession with beauty: she wasn’t just obsessed with it, for her it was her power, a way to control. She wasn’t your typical “I just want to stay young and beautiful forever” character. When I was watching the movie and thinking about Ravenna’s character, the Ecclesiastes verse above came to my mind. This is truly her character. Someday, I would really like to see a movie where this “damaged woman” archetype is redeemed. In these fairy tales, her heart just explodes or her eyes get plucked out or some such business. Why not let the damaged woman heal?

I also liked Snow White as a battle princess. In the end, it wasn’t the Huntsman who “saved” or “rescued” her. She did battle for herself. In compassion at the end of the movie, she tells Ravenna, “You cannot have my heart.” I just liked that. For those of you who don’t know me well, I really like the concept of the warrior or battle princess. There is something very powerful about a woman who fights for who she loves and what she believes in. I don’t like that Snow White is portrayed as just good, like it’s something in and of herself. All women need redemption, not just the wounded ones.

The Huntsman was (at least in my experience) a pretty accurate portrayal of modern manhood. Guys, I’m not hating (really). I just think men in our society are a little bit afraid to step up to the plate as men. (And probably for a lot of reasons that since I am not a man, I will not get into). That was disappointing to Snow White, but not so disappointing that she turned into the damaged woman.  Eventually, he deals with his complicated background, and does step up and ride into battle with Snow White.  He cannot rescue or redeem Snow White (that’s not his job), but he fights along side of her. *Happy sigh*

Yeah, uh, so now that I’ve watched it to analyze it, I’m going back to watch and enjoy it. 🙂

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Lydia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Television, and Film. She is passionate about reaching artists with the good news of Jesus Christ and discipling them in the arts.