Back in the good old days when we were still lobbing each other’s heads off with axes, and raising heads on pikes in praise, we did something else too. We told women how to behave. Every woman should be well kept, well mannered, speak when spoken to, and have no weapons at the dinner table. This was until a tousled Merida arrives from the Scottish highlands in the new Pixar film Brave.
Normally I choose films where real people and real dead bodies matter. Today I was babysitting my kid sister and her troupe of friends, and I was put in front of an animated film. I know I have the tendency to be a daydreamer, and this film was all about doing what you love, saving those you love, and choosing what is really important to you. I normally fall asleep when I read a synopsis of a film, I prefer to listen to (or read about) the layers beneath the storyline. So here is the storyline in two sentences…
A young girl is forced to be married and refuses in the hope a spell from a witch will save her. The spell goes wrong and now she is forced to protect the one family member she has been running from.
“Some say fate is beyond our command, but I know better. Our destiny is within us. You just have to be brave enough to see it.” These are the last lines of the movie. It rang inside me, and the theme of courage and chivalry run right through the entire film. It’s a pick-me-up movie reminding us that the bond between friends and our relationship will save us, despite the circumstances. I loved the fact too that there wasn’t a single American accent in the film. It’s a given these days since Pixar, Disney and Dreamworks are all based in the States. This was different and the fact it had a little fantasy woven in as well, was a little bonus for the bookworm inside me.
It was funny in parts, and meaningful in others. However, there were two questions floating around in my head during the film:
Were cartoons ever this fast?
Granted, it’s been years since I sat down at the Big Screen, and watched a full-length animated film. I like my storyline to flow a meaningful rhythm and single direction. This film felt terribly ADD to me. You’d have 15 minutes of a conversation, then suddenly the three little redhead scots come careening through and destroying everything, then another 10 minutes of plot. I felt at times the sudden change from scene to scene was a too fast and overwhelmed. Then again I’m also not a sugar-fueled 10 year old, so perhaps it’s a case of entertainment value and storyline.
When did cartoons become dark and violent?
Sometimes I think the movie creators forget that the bear with menacing claws on their 15 inch laptop, is translated out as a twenty foot bear growling at you. The opening scene of the movie is when a bear has his revenge on a scotsman. It must’ve been only 5 minutes, but my poor little sister next to me, just about crapped her pants before the film had begun. If it had been any longer, she was on the brim of her seat and was ready to flee.
I’m an adult, so I can rationalize and see that this film is a few well-oiled pixels, some voice actors, a decent screenwriter, and a cranky director molding everything together. A nine year old sees a 20ft bear and thinks, Holy Fuck. Get me out of here! There’s a long fight scene at the end with a bear who has arrows jutting out of his hide, a thick scar running down from the top of his head, and one yellow eye with no pupil. At this point the three girls I was with, all shrank together hugging each other trying to avert their gaze. The one girl said to me afterwards, “I couldn’t help it. It was very scary, but I still tried to watch so I could see what was going on.”
It is worth it? Yes, if you’re over the age of thirteen, and you no longer regard your teddy bear to be your best friend. No, if you’re younger than 13 and have a vivid imagination. Later on my step mom pointed out, that is handy when a kids movie comes out on DVD, because you can always turn down the volume a tad during frightening scenes. So don’t always listen to your friends, rather wait for the DVD. 😉