Posts tagged ‘Merida’

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.

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