Wednesday, June 27, 2012

5 Things Wrong with Brave

Last weekend I was depressed, so I went to see Brave, knowing that nothing cheers me up like a Disney/Pixar film. Until Pocahontas, there wasn’t a Disney film I didn’t love. They are pure magic; even Hitler thought so. And Pixar…wow. Toy Story changed my life, and if we pretend A Bug’s Life didn’t happen and everyone watched Antz instead, Pixar has never disappointed me.

So it was that I rejected other plans, some of which involved watching past presidents fight the undead, to stand in line with 200 ten-year-olds. So it was that I prepared myself with ginger jokes, ready to pretend-criticize the film for romanticizing the Soulless Ones. So it was that I found myself standing in shocked disappointment after the ending credits, confused and sad and more than a little disturbed, with very serious criticisms rattling around in my brain.

Brave is a bad movie, and you should not take your children to see it, for at least five reasons:

1. Scottish accents

This is more of an observation than a criticism, but isn’t it odd the way we use accents in movies? I don’t mean just the absurdity of using a language-X accent to indicate that the character is speaking in language-X. I’m talking about when the entire movie is set in a certain place, but depending on what that place is the characters may or may not have the corresponding accents. Scotland, Ireland, and England always seem to get accents, but pretty much nowhere else does.

Think about it. Did anyone besides Lumier and the feather duster skank have French accents in Beauty and the Beast? Did anyone in Aladdin have any of the accents that can be heard in the Middle East? Hell, Snow White probably should have had a German accent, and with the wide range of accents to be found in The Lion King, it’s odd that not one of them is the Swahili accent (no, not even Rafiki.)

Disney tends to pick and choose their accents. Pixar can’t seem to make up their minds, based on Ratatouille at least, but be honest: was there any chance of making a movie set in Scotland, no matter the time period, without the accents? No, there wasn’t, because some places are just so defined by their accents, we can’t accept not having them in our films, even if it makes the dialog harder to follow and the music really annoying. That’s my real criticism, by the way: the music was terrible.

2. Will-o’-the-wisps

Are not cute land-based jellyfish that lead you to your fate. They are evil beings that lure virgins into the woods to rape and murder them. Well, okay, so there are a variety of myths surrounding these ethereal lights, but the only one that is remotely pleasant involves buried treasure, and even in that one most people die trying to retrieve it.

In real life, will-o’-the-wisps are phosphorescent critters that live in marshes. Travelers would be drawn to the flickering glow thinking they were seeing lanterns. More often than not, they would end up drowned in the bog or lost, thus inspiring the legends. And I’m sorry, but I think the animators at Pixar were well aware of the nefarious nature of these “fairy lights” because those blue globs with their Shining-esque childish giggling were creepy as fuck. Oh, and remember how the horse was (reasonably) terrified of them? What happened to that little clue?

The wisps’ impression was made even worse by the lack of a villain in the story. Without a bad guy around to provide a convenient focal point of evil, I kept expecting the wisps to suddenly reveal their true nature and lead the heroines off a cliff, like they’re damn well supposed to.

Also why are wisps the only magical creatures? I’m no expert on Scottish mythology, but surely there’s something more to work with there. A witch, okay, sure, but no sprites? No fairies? Nothing? For a “land full of magic and danger,” there certainly wasn’t a lot of either one. Although maybe there would have been if the story actually showed us more of the land instead of staying inside of or within a short ride of the castle the entire time. Which brings me to a more important criticism…

3. Brave has nothing to do with bravery

Nothing in this film was more confusing than the title. I can think of no plausible reason why this story deserves the title “Brave” when the heroine doesn’t even go anywhere, especially when the story clearly wanted her to. The witch went on a little trip? Then fucking follow her. Fight demons and overcome challenges in the woods for a few days, and do your mother-daughter bonding there. That’s your odyssey, not this stupid running back and forth between the castle and Stonehenge shit.

The theme of this film is very clear, but it’s not related to bravery at all. Everything in the film is about mother-daughter relations and listening to each other. Why wasn’t it titled “Listen?” Or “Mother Knows Best?” Or “Shut Up and Get Married to Save the Kingdom?”

Because that’s exactly what happens: the mother wants to force her daughter to marry someone she’s never met, the daughter wants to play in the woods instead, the mother gets turned into a bear and realizes that woodsy skills are valuable, and the daughter realizes that she was being ever so silly about the whole marriage-to-a-stranger thing and should settle down for the sake of the kingdom. The only way I can work “brave” into the plot or theme of the film is to restate it as “a princess, who is brave in the face of mortal danger, must learn to also be brave in the marriage bed.” Which brings me to the most important point…

4. Marital rape is not something to compromise on

I wanted to like the story of Brave. I really did. Who hasn’t dreamed of turning their mother into something that can’t speak? Personally I would go with a tea cozy rather than something with claws, but I’ll take what I can get. It was touching to see the mother/bear come around to see the value in her daughter’s passions and to admire her abilities.

But quid pro quo, Clarisse: you have to give a little to get a little. To break the spell, the princess must “mend the bond torn by pride.” That turns out to mean she must literally stitch a tapestry (good princess, do your needlework) that she had cut with a sword when her mother tried to force her to marry some random, ugly dude she had just met. Yeah, that’s right, acting out with some mild violence when facing an arranged marriage is what passes for hotheaded pride in the Pixar universe.

Let me take a moment here to point out that this princess is clearly about 14 years old (we're never told her age in the film, so I'm going with how she looks, and if Pocahontas was 14, this girl is -7.) Oh yes, it was pride that made her act out all childishly, not, you know, the fact that she is legally still a child. It wasn’t that marriage involves a lifetime spent with another person, not to mention bearing their children (sex is how that happens, remember?), and that marrying at 14 would be scary enough without the groom being a complete stranger to you.

When faced with what is effectively child rape, the princess takes issue with it, and that’s a temper tantrum according to Pixar? She needs to learn to accept her fate/responsibility/duty to spend the rest of her life fucking one of the two fat dudes or the dude who looks like Geddy Lee (no offense, Geddy, I love you), both of whom she saw for the first time today and hasn’t even spoken to yet? This whole thing is just a “misunderstanding” between her and her mother? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? THIS IS CALLED RAPE, AND IT IS NOT OKAY.

Ok, look, I realize that Brave is set in a different time, and I’m being as dramatic as possible. But Brave is also a kids’ movie. 90% of the audience when I went was under age 10. Kids that age are not able to grasp the subtle nuances of gender politics in ancient Scotland and to make allowances for old-timey injustices when extracting a modern-day moral from a story. It is fucked up to romanticize forcing marriage on a 14-year-old in front of children. Ew. I would sooner raise my kids on A Game of Thrones than let them watch this movie.

5. She did not change her fate and P.S. why did she sew the tapestry on horseback?

The opening and closing voiceovers in Brave are all about fate. Changing your fate, finding your fate, being lead to your fate by rapey, murdery fairies. So we would expect fate to play a major role in the story, no? Except that it doesn’t, not at all.

The first voiceover, heard also in the preview, says something along the lines of “our fate is tied to the land, a land full of magic and danger.” Sounds promising, I suppose, except I’ve already pointed out that there isn’t much in the way of magic (wisps and one in-denial witch do not a magical land make) or danger (There’s one angry bear. One. In all of Scotland.) Fate also doesn’t factor into it. Fate is not a synonym for “geopolitical circumstances that necessitate politically expedient marriages.” Fate is mystical and other-worldly. It comes from god or the Powers that Be or Zoltar, not from your mother.

Aside from that, this marriage fate of hers has nothing to do with the land. Governments are not a part of the land they rule. If they were, they wouldn’t change so often. In fact it’s mentioned several times that this kingdom is not just new, but brand new. Her father is the first-ever king in this kingdom. Odd, then, isn’t it, that they have so many traditions for marrying off their princesses, traditions so old and established that it would literally cause war to break with them, when this is the first time the kingdom has even had a princess to marry off?

Speaking of plot holes, what on earth possessed the princess to repair that tapestry on horseback? If she believed that a bit of mending was all that she needed to do to change her mother back, why would she waste time escaping the room, saddling her horse, and riding out? Why not just stay in the comfy room and fix the tapestry? Her mother would change back, the king would find her, and all would be well. Of course mending the tapestry is a red herring, and as usual the secret spell-breaking ingredient turns out to be princess tears, so it’s for the best that she behaved so irrationally. Which now that you mention it, isn’t it called “bad writing” when characters make senseless decisions in order to fulfill your plot needs?

Look, I’m generally not one to get a bee in my gender-neutral bonnet over this or that thing that could be sexist, racist, ageist, homophobic, etc. [Sig. Other’s Note: Yes, she is.], especially when we’re talking about Disney or Pixar productions, which are just fun, beautiful films. I adore The Lion King, despite its concerning moral stances on hereditary monarchy and eating things that can talk. I don’t care that Pixar didn’t have a female hero* until Brave any more than I care that Disney pretty much only has female heroes still. I don’t think it’s racist for Sebastian to have an island accent, man, nor for hand-removal to be featured prominently in Aladdin. Generally I think everyone should just chill out.

But at some point, a line must be drawn, and I’m choosing to draw it at forcibly marrying minors. And so, Princess Merieda (sp?), I beseech you: would Jasmine put up with this shit? That chick could have married any prince she wanted, and still she had to rock the boat on principle. That’s what a princess role model looks like, ladies and gentlemen.

I’m very happy for all the little ginger kids who can finally look at a Disney princess and say “That’s me” (because for some reason they couldn’t do that with Ariel.) I know what it’s like to feel ignored in that way. When I was growing up, Disney film after Disney film showed beautiful blond princesses, but did any of them have green eyes? Nope, not until Tangled. It was so hard to be a pretty blond with non-blue eyes, let me tell you.

But why is it all about what she looks like? Is that what we want our children to look for first when seeking out similarities between themselves and fictional characters: eye color, hair color, skin color, and sex? I realize that these can be developmentally important identifications for kids to make, but maybe the real reason why we get so hung up on the physical characteristics of our Disney princesses is that there isn’t much else to differentiate them. They all want to better themselves, many want to break free from some societal restraint, but other than that, what can we really say about each one? Belle is a bookworm. Ariel is curious. The black one was highly industrious. The others…who can say?

For all its flaws, Brave did present a princess with a clear personality and values. That was great to see. Unfortunately it was pretty much ruined by the moral that effectively requires her to surrender all of those values and suppress her personality.

Thus ends the charmed life of Pixar films.

S. Misanthrope

*So they say. I say that if you assume that WALL-E is male and EVE is female, you’re the one promoting traditional gender roles.

43 comments:

  1. Actually at the end she DOESN'T get married. The thing Merida realized wasn't that she needs to "settle down" but that she should try to explain how she feels instead of flying off the handle like a hothead. And her mom learned that maybe, just maybe, she was wrong to force her daughter to get married.

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    1. I didn't say she gets married. She doesn't get married *yet*, but it's made quite clear that not only will she get married, she will marry one of those three weird kids. And it's the "maybe, just maybe" part that I object to. There really shouldn't be any moral ambiguity on the topic of selling your child into sexual slavery.

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  2. Whoever wrote this is totally senseless..total bullshit!

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    1. Right back atcha, sweetheart.

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    2. I agree this is ridiculous..you would sooner raise your kids on game of thrones? Are you fucking kidding game of thrones is full of incest and actual rape not to mention the violence ..also she definitely doesn't look 14. And it was a fucking arranged marriage. All of your criticism was ridiculous and unfounded. It was a children's movie and there was nothing inappropriate about it.

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    3. I had originally made the GoT comment as a joke, which is, after all, the purpose of this site: to make jokes. However, when I seriously consider the question, I have to say that yes, I would prefer GoT to Brave for child-rearing purposes. The particular concretes of a film viewed by children are less important to me than the moral clarity underlying them. Brave is a moral mess gussied up in benign, vapid clothing. A child raised on Brave will most likely grow up to be a bromide-spouting non-entity, at best. At least a GoT kid would learn to recognize moral complexities *and* would have Aria and Dany as positive role models.

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    4. Haha the one who wrote this review was obviously having her monthly if not menopausal period! Don't resort to watch a kid movie if you're having a bad day, it's not the movie's fault if they couldn't cheer you up.

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  3. WHOEVER WROTE THIS, DRIVE TO HELL AND BURN YOUR ASS YOU ODDMENT FILTHY LITTLE MUDBLOOD! I DON'T KNOW WHY YOU HATE THE MOVIE AND YOU LISTED SOME FREAKING NONSENSE REASONS WHY TO HATE IT. C'MON BUDDY? DID YOU REALLY WATCHED THE MOVIE? THEN WHY DIDN'T YOU SAW THE BEAUTY IN IT?
    I WATCHED THAT MOVIE LAST WEEK AND IT MADE ME CRY. IT MEANS ITS A WONDERFUL MOVIE 'CAUSE IT CAPTIVATES THE VIEWER'S EMOTION. AND IT HAS A DAMN BEAUTIFUL MORAL LESSON. ELINOR, THE MOTHER IN THE STORY SHOULD LEAR TO LISTEN TO HER DAUGHTER SOMETIMES. SHE SHOULD KNOW WHAT TRULY MAKES HERE DAUGHTER HAPPY. AND FOR MERIDA, SHE SHOULDN'T WISHED TO CHANGE HER MOM. SHE SHOULD APPRECIATE THAT HER MOM JUST WANT TO GAVE HER A PERFECT LIFE(WHICH HER MOM THOUGHTS). AT THE END OF THE STORY, THEY BOTH REALIZE THEIR MISTAKES AND TRIED TO CHANGE. AND THEY GOT CLOSE TO EACH OTHER. I REALLY DID RELATE TO THAT MOVIE. TO ADMIT IT, I'M STUBBORN MOST TIMES AND I LIKE TO DISOBEY MY MOM, AND I WRITE LETTERS UNDER MY PILLOW ABOUT MY THOUGHTS WHENEVER MOM GOT MAD AT ME. BUT THEN I REALIZE, SHE ONLY WANT WHAT SHE THINK IS BEST FOR ME.

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    1. Kudos for the strangest use of the word "oddment" I've ever seen. I can only conclude that you believe me to be a sort of golem constructed out of the remains of Lily Potter, in which case I believe you've answered your own question as to why the beauty of the film escaped me. As a reanimated corpse, I find it difficult to comprehend these "emotions" you humans claim to have. Instead I'm left only with the ability to rationally analyze and draw conclusions based on facts rather than feelings. So much the worse for me.

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    2. You are not a kind person. I wish I would have never found this article. I'm not a huge fan of the movie, but I think you completely missed the point of the entire thing. And you criticise things that have nothing to do with the movie..not to mention your mean replies to comments.

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    3. Hi Anonymous #500. You are not a relevant person. I wish you had never posted on this article. I'm not a huge fan of this post, but I know you completely missed the point of my entire site. You criticize things that have nothing to do with the accuracy of my statements, not to mention your pointless replies to comments.

      That said, thanks very much for the compliment. I've worked long and hard to become the unkind person I am today. It's nice to have one's work appreciated.

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  4. IT'S MOTHERS DAY NEXT MONTH, AND IT'S A PERFECT MOVIE TO WATCH WITH YOUR FAMILY TOGETHER.

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    1. Particularly if your family is 11th century nobility in need of a politically expedient marriage.

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  5. i don't know why you have to list those nonsense reasons to hate the movie. the movie is quite good after all. i really liked it...no, love it i should say.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. I list my reasons because:
      1. Unlike you, I actually have reasons to support my beliefs.
      2. Also unlike you, I believe that I should provide those reasons to my audience rather than make baseless assertions.
      3. You realize this a blog, right? If I just wanted to provide a one-sentence, unjustified assessment of every film I see, I would join Twitter.
      4. Lists can be a useful way to organize one's thoughts, assuming one has any worth organizing. I don't expect you to be able to relate.
      5. Every list needs a fifth thing.

      So now you know why I "have" to list my reasons. You're welcome.

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  6. My responses to your comments, in list form of course:

    1. I applaud Disney for finally having all the characters speak the correct accent and embracing the cultural themes of ancient Scotland in Brave. Disney films are not just made for Americans and although it may 'annoy' you to take the time to understand the Scottish accent, it is key to the film and its integrity. The lilting Celtic-based folk music in the film is beautiful, by the way. What would you have preferred - Miley Cirus and a synthesizer?

    2. It's strange that you criticise the use of Scottish accents but then criticise the depiction of Will O' The Wisps for not being authentic. Plenty of animated films by Disney and other film companies have taken poetic license with mythological and fantasy characters including genies, fairies and gnomes for the purposes of plot so go with it. If you can accept talking lobsters and humanised candlesticks, relax about the Wisps. As for magic, the film contains plenty in my view, with a pleasant emphasis on the beauty of nature adding to the effect. The witch is also the most authentic witch Disney has ever created, being exactly the sort of woman who would have been suspected of (and most likely persecuted for) magical working in ancient society.

    3. 'Brave' is definitely about being brave, in the sense of bravely accepting that you don't know it all and acknowledging your faults. This applies to both Merida and Elinor, who both learn to compromise and become closer as a result. They act bravely by letting down their defenses and listening to each other. The film's message is that bravery is not about stubbonly following a path on your own but appreciating others' views and their differences.

    4. The film does not give any support to the concept of arranged marriage or marital rape - quite the contrary in fact. Merida doesn't marry any of the suitors and ends the film single and independent. There isn't any suggestion that she will end up marrying at all. Elinor realises that she shouldn't force Merida to marry unwillingly. As for the age issue, I'd place Merida as being at least 16, if not older. I have no idea why you think she's 14. In general, I think Disney deal with the issue very well. As for the 'bond torn by pride', that clearly consists of Merida and Elinor's mutual disapproval of each other on numerous matters including the marriage issue. Merida feels trapped by Elinor's wish to form her into the 'perfect' princess and Elinor is frustrated by her daughter's inflexibility and petulence. It's not just the marriage conflict that causes the breach. It's repaired by Merida acknowledging her responsibilities to the kingdom as a princess when she unites the clans and Elinor accepting that Merida shouldn't be coerced to marry.

    5. Although I don't personally believe in 'fate', in the film Merida does change her fate by not ending up in the proposed marriage and establishing a closer bond with her mother, instead of getting hitched and being at odds with her mother. As for the tapestry, she stitches it whilst riding so she can not only break the spell but also get back to the mother she loves who happens to have three fierce clans hunting her down. It's quite obvious.

    I've probably spent way too much time responding to your comments this evening but as a mother of two daughters, I object to your statement that parents shouldn't allow their children to watch Brave. Although the whimsy of the earlier Disney films is enjoyable, I'm glad that my daughters can look to independent, 3-dimensional characters such as Merida and Rapunzel as role models, as they know their own minds and don't need a prince to marry them in order to be find happiness.

    Lucy

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    1. Hi Lucy,

      Congrats on being the first non-crazy commenter. My thoughts on your thoughts, again in convenient list form:

      1. As I said in my post, I'm not criticizing the accents, just observing the general way American film treats accents. I *am* criticizing the music, which I found terrible, despite the fact that I generally enjoy celtic-type music. I don't want non-celtic music in the film, I just want non-sucky celtic music. Of course, my feelings about the music are just that - feelings. I'm not surprised other people have other feelings about it (although to weakly defend myself, everyone I saw the film with agreed the music was dreadful.)

      2. Again, not criticizing the accents, just observing. And I'm not doing a compare-contrast here with Brave versus other Disney films, so it wasn't relevant to address other liberties Disney has taken in the past with mythology and whether or not I consider them appropriate. If I *were* comparing/contrasting, however, I'd still come down most harshly on the 'wisps for two main reasons. First, unlike genies or witches or other mythological creatures, 'wisps don't have a history of being reinterpreted in this strange, benevolent way shown in Brave. Second, for those who are familiar with 'wisp legends, it reinforces the general rapey-ness of the film.

      3. I consider that a stretch. The Lion King did a better job of addressing the subtleties of bravery than Brave did, and that wasn't even its purported theme. If the writers wanted to make the point you suggest, they should have done more with the dialog or narration to support that interpretation. If you have to work that hard to make a theme fit, it's probably not the real theme.

      4. Again, the end of the film clearly indicates that she will eventually marry one of the three. More importantly, Merida's speech in front of the fighting clans starts off as her sucking it up and agreeing to the marriage, only for her to be saved at the last minute by some weird bear pantomime. I believe that is a terrible example for children, and I'm deeply offended at the suggestion that this decision is "brave." Also 16 is still legally a child. I'm guessing most parents don't want their daughters having sex at 16, let alone getting married.

      5. In the context of a fairy tale, the arranged marriage doesn't qualify as a fate, in my opinion. You need an evil fairy cursing you in your cradle or some prophecy or something to count at fate. Otherwise it's just geopolitical circumstances. As for the sewing on horseback, I understand her eagerness to get to her mother, but if she were being reasonable about it, she'd realize that the best way to help her mother is to finish the sewing as quickly as possible. Weren't you just arguing that part of her lesson in "bravery" involved learning to be less impulsive and hot-headed? So much for that.

      At the end of it all, I see a daughter making an enormous sacrifice for her mother while the mother makes a tiny step toward appreciating and supporting her daughter. Contextually, for the presumed time period, maybe it's a little more equal, but since children can't comprehend such subtleties, I maintain that it's an inappropriate story for (young) children. However, as I said in the article, I appreciate that Merida has a clear personality, unlike many Disney characters; I think that has great value as an example to children.

      Please don't assume that my disapproval of Brave is implicit approval of every children's movie that isn't Brave. I'm not a fan of prince-marrying by default any more than I'm a fan of prince-marrying by force. The choice isn't either-or. As an illustration, a few Disney/Pixar films I do think are good for children are:
      -The Princess and the Frog
      -The Incredibles
      -Toy Story (1, 2, and 3)
      -Wall-E
      -Cars (1 only)
      -Aladdin
      -Beauty and the Beast

      That's hardly an exhaustive list, but there you go.

      XOXO,
      S.

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    2. Hi S.,

      We differ in our views but I think we agree how important it is to examine the themes and values in the films our children watch and consider their impact.

      Incidentally, being confirmed as non-crazy has made my night!

      I'll check out all the films on your list. Of the ones I've seen, Cars is my favourite - a very intelligent, touching film.

      :-)

      Lucy

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    3. I'll gladly give you props for actually thinking about what you're putting in front of your kids, despite our disparate conclusions on the subject. I'll give myself props as well for spreading a little sunshine via my armchair psychology. Enjoy your non-craziness and your night.
      ~S.

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    4. Hello,
      As a teenage girl, the intended audience of the film, I think that "Brave" is definitely about bravery. Merida stood up for herself and challenged everything that tried to define her fate. She is supposed to be a perfect princess, just like her mother, but she wants freedom- not to play in the woods, but to just have the liberty to enjoy her life and not be someone she's not. It reminds me of How to Train Your Dragon, another Disney film that I lllooveee. Hiccup faced the manly viking stereotype that he just couldn't fit, and was brave enough to stand up to his father and ended up changing everything for the better. Brave addresses very much of the same issues, but in a more feminine point of view. Many girls are expected to be proper and lady-like, but... not all of them are that kind of people. I didn't like the film when it first came out. However, as a girl that's starting to develop her own individuality, I've started to really appreciate and love the message that Brave has to offer- don't let other people define you. Be brave, and stand up for who you are.

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    5. I don't think you actually finished the film, because the part where she becomes Brave is when she gives in to what's being demanded of her. Also the intended audience is *not* teenage girls (How many Merida backpacks did your mom buy for you? Yeah, that's what I thought.) and How to Train Your Dragon is not a Disney film.

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    6. Hi, I know this is a year old and you may not read it but I felt the need to respond. I am watching brave right now and really think you are putting more into the story then is there. However, what I wanted to respond to was the idea that beauty and the beast is a good movie for children. Really that message is telling girls that no matter how abusive and beastly a man treats you if you love him enough and stick with him eventually he with turn into a handsome prince. Belle is imprisoned and abused both verbally and physically but sticks with her abuser and is rewarded with a prince that most likely will continue to abuse her. Ir is a horrible story for young girls and boys just perpetuates the abuse cycle.

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  7. I have been watching Brave when I was just an 11 year old girl and I actually found some stuff that bothered me. Like the whole marry-a-prince-for-the-sake-of-the-kingdom thingy. In almost every Disney movie I watched about princesses could have involved some pagan-type stuff. And I heard some rumors that Disney joined a cult. (No offense) I salute you for complying this article, although I am sure that you would gain a lot of hate mail.

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    1. Perhaps I should give young folks more credit for seeing through what their elders tend to overlook and sugar-coat. I wouldn't worry too much about pagan and cult activities, though. If you eschew all artists with dubious beliefs, you'll be stuck watching shadows on the wall of a cave. At least pagans can spin a good yarn.

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  8. Clearly shows you have nothing better to do than to rant about some animated movie which btw countless people love irrespective of your opinion or that you really care enough for this movie to have taken your time out and wrote so much on it. Is it really worth it? I mean c'mon, nobody cares what you think!!!

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    1. Dear Anonymous #501:

      CONGRATULATIONS! You're the lucky winner of our "Umpteenth Pointless Anonymous Comment Sweepstakes!" You're entitled to ALL of the following exciting prizes:
      -A FREE lesson in punctuation and sentence structure!
      -Your very own secret identity!
      -The opportunity to go fuck yourself!

      Are you ready for your first prize? Here we go:
      The first problem with your sentence is that it lacks a subject. *What* is it that clearly shows I have nothing better to do? Luckily you don't lose much clarity on this point since we can safely assume you're referring to the post that I lovely crafted over most of my adult life.

      The phrase "which btw countless people love irrespective of your opinion" contains several problems. Primarily, it is an aside and therefore must be set off from the rest of the sentence via the use of commas. Had you written out "by the way" instead of resorting to short-hand, those three words would also require parenthetical commas. Luckily you chose to be lazy, and that laziness paid off by preventing your already extraordinarily long sentence (one might even say "rant") from going the way of Henry James. As it stands, the biggest issue here is word choice. I'm fairly certain the Disney accounting department is quite capable of counting the exact number of people who loved "Brave." You redeemed yourself somewhat, however, by getting it right with "irrespective" rather than the cringe-inducing "irregardless."

      Now this last bit: "that you really care enough for this movie to have taken your time out and wrote so much on it." I'm not quite following. Do you think I pulled a sheet of time out of my pocket and penned this essay on top of it? Between the ambiguity and the mixing of tenses, I'm almost at a loss, but allow me to attempt a full rewrite:

      "This clearly shows that you have nothing better to do than to rant about some animated movie, which btw many people love irrespective of your opinion, or that you really do care enough for this movie to take the time to write so much about it."

      See what I did there? I made your incoherent string of letters into a comprehensible sentence. Byron couldn't have done it better. As for the rest, well, all I can say is that only a "Brave" fan would think three exclamation points make for a good, strong end to an argument.

      Lucky for you, your new identity is a much better writer. Your name is Suzy Salamander, an indigenous Nova Scotian woman who gained the power of one-way telepathy with amphibians through a freak underwater spelunking accident. She also gained webbed feet. Now Suzy travels across the more moist parts of the world, using her ability to read the thoughts of newts to represent amphibian interests to the United Nations. To date, those interests consist of wanting more bugs and more bitches.

      Now fuck off.

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    2. Uhm, you're kinda rude to a stranger. What if the writer is just a teenager or a child?

      Delete
  9. I don't have a an account...but I stumbled upon this, and was like, okay, I wonder what they could have put.

    But really, you missed the whole point of the movie. You dug for things that are irrelevant to what the movie is about.

    Disney has always tweeked the original stories of the films they create. Chill out.

    And really? It was an arranged marriage, and back in that time it was a very important thing. So of course it was a big deal that Merida was against it. Child molestation/rape though? You're going a bit over the top. Those guys were also her age.

    Obviously, you don't care what people say about your thoughts on this. And that's fine.

    But my thoughts are that you blew this out of proportion.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Anon-999. Let me try and clarify these points for you.

      1. "You missed the point." - This post is not titled "The Point of Brave" or "Plot-Theme Integration in Brave" or even "What Brave Is about." I'm well aware of the theme of the movie, and in fact I even praise it despite my issues with its execution. There's a lot more to a film than just its "point," though, and those other things are worth talking about.

      2. "Disney always tweeks." I wondered where Miley got it from. Oh wait, that's "twerks," never mind. More on-point, there is no "original story" here, so I don't know why you bring this up. Actually there's no "original story" for any of the core Disney films except The Hunchback of Notre Dame and maybe arguably The Little Mermaid.

      The only thing I can imagine you're talking about with this comment is the re-imagining of the 'wisps, so I'm going to address that. When fairy tales are "Disney-fied," it usually isn't out of the blue. Pick up any children's book and you'll find they leave out the part where Cinderella's step-sisters cut off their toes and heels (respectively) in an attempt to fit the glass slipper. The toning down of these stories is common and was not invented by Disney. And in many cases, Disney tones *up* the story, like by making Ursula evil for The Little Mermaid. They make adjustments in order to create a more cohesive, extensive, and identifiable narrative because they're turning a ten-minute bedtime story into a 90-minute film.

      What they don't do is complete turn tropes on their heads. Fairies still grant wishes, witches still cast spells, and the prince's kiss still wakes the princess. If instead of waking her, Philip's lips triggered a seizure in Aurora, everyone would be going "What the fuck?" and the movie would need to do some work to justify this radical departure from what is commonly understood in the cultural mythos.

      If you're at all familiar with will-o-the-wisps, this will be your reaction to the 'wisps in Brave. They are universally a sign of entrapment and danger in legend. They're lures, and Merida reacts to them like Dory to the angler in Finding Nemo. If you're going down this road, you need to do a little more work to convince the audience of the benign nature of these re-imagined creatures.

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    2. [Cont.]
      3. Arranged marriage/back in that time - There is no established time for this story. It's not historical fiction; it's fantasy. The writers get to choose the time and what's important during it. The status of arranged marriage in the Brave world is entirely on them. They knew they were making a film for children, yet they chose for the subject the marrying off of a child. Not a side bit, as in Aladdin and The Lion King, but as the central plot. They then proceed to deal with the issue very, very poorly. I'm not letting Pixar off on this one.

      4. Child rape - Your comment suggests that as long as both parties are children, rape is okay, even when they're both being forced into it literally at the point of a gun (well, ok, sword or something). Admittedly, I failed to really acknowledge that the boys are victims too in this scenario, but they are hardly present in the story at all, so I think it's reasonable to focus on Merida.

      5. "Obviously you don't care" - I wouldn't bother responding, even snarkily, if I didn't care. Although most of the comments I've received don't really qualify as "thoughts" so much as "obscene gutteral ragings." I appreciate the few that aren't insane, though, so again, thanks for the reply.

      6. Proper proportions - Aside from my very strong views on child-rearing, which I don't really write about ever, I also have very high standards for story-telling, particularly with respect to the alignment of what happens in your story with what your artistic message is. Brave was a massive failure on this count. The message is incredibly muddled and contradicted by the plot at almost every turn. Add to that the lack of pleasing aesthetics (my personal opinion; your mileage may vary) and Brave sums up to 90 minutes I'll sadly never get back.

      But really what's happening here is that this is a humor blog, so yeah, I'm being dramatic for effect. Seems to be working.

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  10. YOU MISSED SOMETHING! The witch head in the cauldron (about 48-50 minutes in) said that Merida must remember the words: Fate be changed. Look inside, mend the bond torn by pride. Hello!!!! Look inside! IT'S ALL ABOUT FACING YOUR INNER FEARS AND GROWING UP!!!! ABOUT TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS. That IS being "brave" !


    p.s your blog is terrible.

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    1. Um, no? Nothing mentions fear in the witch's message, and even if it did, "growing up" would mean going through with the whole underage marriage thing. Things like bravery are only good if they lead you toward good things.

      P.S. Your belief that one line of a film is enough to establish its theme even when the rest of the film contradicts that supposed theme is terrible.

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  11. Well. I agreed with you 100%. Actually, 98%; I found the accents fun. But yeah it was an utter waste of time, money, effort, and artistic talent, although clearly not story-telling talent since this movie had absolutely none of that. I was really looking forward to this movie when I saw the trailers but my hopes sank steadily until the oh-now-mom's-a-bear part. Then I gave up. I actually stopped watching and didn't come back to it for months until the recommendation of my naive and very confused cousin convinced me to watch till the end. Not only did I not cry, I found this movie less relateable than a youtube cooking tutorial. It was boring, (disturbingly) open-ended, and overall a ridiculous pile of shit Pixar tried to pawn off as "feminism."

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    1. We should initiate a class action for false advertising.

      Delete
  12. I wish I could reply to you saying people have opinions, but I know you're just going to send close-minded replies to me that don't mean squat.

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    Replies
    1. Here's how you can reply to me saying people have opinions:
      Step 1: Click "Reply."
      Step 2: Type "People have opinions."
      Step 3: Click "Publish."
      Hope this helps!

      XOXO,
      S.

      Delete
  13. Dear belless(see meaning in Urban Dictionary if necessary) genius,
    I don't know what exactly to say to you. Because you are so deluded, you don't even understand a movie properly. Name how many blockbuster movies you have created o' thee Lord. And thanks for the entertainment! Your Points & REPLIES made me laugh out loud!!! Like literally. So my suggestions, drag your ass to somewhere you can watch the movie, watch it(yeah without those two judgemental eyes). You might LIKE it.(note I said MIGHT)
    I'm sorry if this sounds rude but sweetie, you have to open your eyes and realize how much almost everyone who commented on your blog, absolutely hate you.
    Oh and thank you, your WELL-WISHER. :)

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  14. Skimmed though it. Hit sexual slavery. Realised how hardcore you were and dodged because you're bonkers.

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  15. Absolutely spot-on about the arranged marriage thing. There's definitely something seriously off about the moral of this particular film in that it does suggest Merida compromise with her mother over the issue to "mature", when that is complete nonsense. It's pretty clear that had Merida not thrown a tantrum and instead approached in the way is implied she "should" have, with so-called decorum, her point would not have been taken seriously. That all the ridiculously over-goofed men listened and accepted her speech is not convincing...

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