Chase the Wind and Touch the Sky

Brave poster

It probably comes as a surprise to no one reading this that I am an animation fan. Stop-motion animations generally will tend to be my particular posion, but I have an appreciation for the beauty present in all forms. Now, bearing this little fact in mind, it should be no surprise that I went to see the latest Disney-Pixar offering: Brave.

Granted, a Pixar movie being the subject of a “GUST”, as we call it round the office, style review is another one of those non-surprises we seem to be having a lot of this review. Pixar, as a compamy, are infamous for creating movies which happen to be enjoyable for everyone, not just one particular age group. It’s just that, well, Brave is the newest one at the moment.

Now, to offer a summary in a sentence: Brave follows the young princess Merida on her attempt to change her fate. Yes, that is all you’re getting. Well, I am trying to avoid giving spoilers, here. There are twists, and turns, and by the end of it all, some sort of lessons will be learnt. Well, I suppose there has to be some sort of educational value. I suppose.

This is Pixar’s first female led film and, in perhaps an odd move, they decided to make their first female lead a princess. Only… it’s not so odd. Because this is Pixar we’re talking about, and of course they’re going to offer a more rounded portrayal than the one in the Disney marketing image that no doubt sprung to mind. (Note: yes, I do mean the marketing image; go rewatch those films, you’ll marvel at how strong the ladies are.)

Merida’s life as a princess is bound by tradition, rules, and expectations. All of which need ot be met or it is highly likely that the kingdom will fall into war. Though these traditions insist that Merida must be married, her complaint is not that she wishes to marry for love, but rather that she isn’t ready for such a commitment yet. Not that her Mother, the equally-awesome Queen Elinor, listens to her. Though, to be fair to her Majesty, Merida doesn’t listen to her mother.

Y’see, the crux of the movie is that it’s really about the relationship between a mother and her daughter. Any issue is theirs, and it is them who will have to deal with it. There’s no prince galloping in on horseback to save the day because it’s not that type of story. Oh, there are suitors for Merida, but they’re as unready for marriage as our girl is. Turns out, it’s not only the princess who has expectations placed upon her.

So, there you go. There’s the why as to Brave is this type of review. It’s the rare movie in which female inter-relationships are valued and highlighted more than any romantic entanglement or subplot, without coming under the classification of a ‘chick flick’. And yes, writing those words did hurt a little, thanks for asking. But, seriously, it’s 2012, and I can only name two female characters in ‘big’ movies who do not have a love interest, and only one of those two leads her movie, and that’s our girl Merida.

So yes, while I can rave forever about the beauties, let’s face it. We want more movies like this. So go people, please, and check Brave out. The story is solid, the animation gorgeous, and the soundtrack awesome.

That it has a kick-ass Scottish ginger at the helm? Well, that’s just a bonus.

Z. McAspurren
(So this being Year of the Archer an’ all, who would win in an archery competiton? Hawkeye, Katniss, Merida, Robin Hood, or Legolas?)

Check out the official Brave site for more information.

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