Entertaining Platt: Brave (2012)
July 3, 2012 § 2 Comments
Brave is a huge step forward in animation for Pixar, with its use of dynamic water, moody mist and hair that has its own personality.
But while it might revolutionize the company’s tools for digital storytelling, it falls short of shaking things up much for female protagonists in animated movies.
The movie does a decent job of setting Merida apart from your usual run-of-the-mill Disney princess by making her willful and independent. But the consequences that come about because she chooses to be who she wants to be (and runs afoul of her mother for it) are undeniably catastrophic.
She manages to almost spark a civil war between all the major clans because she wants to ditch that ancient tradition of arranged marriages. She strikes a deal with a witch (“Woodworker!”) that gets her mom and three little brothers turned into bears.
For the rest of the movie, Merida’s cleaning up the mess she made by trying to be her own person. It seems like a bit of a mixed feminist message. I don’t think anyone’s denying that, male or female, we should all deal with the consequences of our actions. But the movie can appear on a certain level to be a cautionary tale that warns against taking a stand for independence like Merida did.
In the end, though, the story seems to find a compromise as Merida’s mother forgives the whole nearly-getting-killed-as-a-bear thing, agrees to let Merida marry for love rather than politics, and then starts participating in mother-daughter cross country horse outings.
It’s a beautifully rendered movie, but the pacing of the story sometimes felt sluggish and protracted, which isn’t something I’m accustomed to experiencing in a Pixar film.