Yesterday, I went to see Brave with a few friends—yes, although 20, I know I’ll be watching cartoons for the rest of my life.
If you haven’t seen the previews, here.
Having seen the previews, I was curious as to how this was going to compare to other Pixar movies with a male protagonist—there has never been a female protagonist completely without a prospective man in her life. Were they going to introduce one, like they had in Tangled? Although in Tangled, the female protagonist seemed promising—independent, sassy, and a fighter—but turned out to be like any other girl. This one seemed like the real thing.
It started off well; the accents were awesome. Much to my neighboring viewer’s consternation, my friend and I spent a majority of the movie repeating certain words in the accent.
“Feyyyyy-te,” we whispered, as Merida’s impossibly voluminous hair whipped about.
And, it addresses the issues of how she had no control of her own fate as a woman as it came time for her to choose a suitor.
However, it quickly becomes a bit ridiculous, when she seeks help from a witch in order to change her mother in order to change her fate. Those two were already weakly related. And, if that wasn’t enough, the witch decided that changing Merida’s mother into a BEAR would best suit her needs.
What?? After my initial shock, I brushed it off, giving Brave another chance. Maybe it just wants to be original; maybe it’s feeding off of their history with bears.
From there, they bonded while introducing each other into their preferred spheres; Merida taught her mother about the beauty of nature and her mother taught her how to be a proper Princess.
Excuse me, have I suddenly been thrown into a Brother Bear rerun?
Then they met up with the antagonist, also a bear, who had also gone to the witch and asked for the strength of twenty men. Again, her solution was to turn him into a bear.
What good is a witch if you can only turn people into bears? And when have bears become the solution to every problem?
In addition to the bear that attacked her family in the beginning, her mother as a bear, and the antagonist bear, the three younger brothers were also turned into bears.
The father never stopped talking about that one time he fought a bear.
The witch, who carved wood as an occupational hobby, only carved bear figures.
So. Many. Bears.
I admit that things got a little emotional at the end, when it seemed as if it really was going to follow Brother Bear’s footsteps where the mother is cursed as a bear forever—so much so that my friend flipped a shit when I leaned over to whisper, through my welling eyes, “I guess her stitching wasn’t good enough.”
Hey, I use humor to dissipate the tears, ok?
Oh, that’s another ridiculous thing. In order to undo the curse, Merida had to repair the bond. Whatever you’re thinking of, it’s not what they’re asking for. Unlike what usually happens, Merida didn’t have to repair the figurative bond, but the literal bond.
She had to repair the tapestry that she had ripped earlier by stitching it back together.
Again, STITCHING. It. Back together.
Although, the movie redeemed itself by including her in a fight scene and rendering all the buff men around her useless.
All in all, Pixar did a pretty good job at writing a female protagonist without a romantic plot, however, the plot itself was a bit ridiculous.
But, I guess it’s a step forward in the right direction.