Here are some thoughts on the Disney Pixar animated film, Brave.
The Plot: It was an interesting story, enough in there to remain exciting, but not too much. It wasn't overwhelmingly complicated and it really complimented the characterisation. Also, overall the plot was about a mother/daughter relationship which is fantastic.
The Characters: I loved the characters. They were interesting, they grew and changed, but still maintained a sense of clear personality. I liked that a lot of the minor characters had distinctive aspects to them. The characters love each other, and have to learn to work hard at understanding each other.
The Animation: I don't know a lot about animation but it was really beautiful. It was visually lovely to watch. I especially liked Merida's hair (not blonde!) and the scenery. I think it was really well put together, and I loved the music.
I love the fact they all had Scottish accents, not being Scottish I can't say whether they were real or not but considering until recently all Disney animations were in American voices regardless of the setting (think Aladdin or Mulan) it was refreshing.
A Few Problems:
I don't think that these were significant enough to not watch the film, overall it's pretty positive in its gender representations but it is important to be aware of the areas it was lacking:
Women: Merida is the heroine and loves nothing more that riding through the forest, shooting arrows. She hates being a princess, the constraints and expectations, especially the idea she will have to get married. Contrasted to Merida is the Queen, who is portrayed as uptight and proper, who has to learn to let go. She's bossy, and frequently nagging her husband. It's a pretty binary representation of what women can be like. (There is a bit of flexibility towards the end).
Men: The majority of the male characters are the members of the Scottish clans, all of whom are rough and ready, love fighting and need a strong (uptight, bossy) woman to get them in line. The main male character is Merida's father, who, while he is portrayed as a man who loves his wife and children, is also reasonably incompetent outside of a battle or hunt.
The reason these are problematic representations is that there is a lack of complexity, in order to show a strong woman (what does that even mean anyway?), the male characters must be belittled. In order to show Merida as a strong-willed independent girl, the mother must be the opposite.
I really enjoyed Brave, it was a beautiful, exciting, and quite often very sweet, film. I got totally caught up in the plot, even jumped a few times.
I think it is a fantastic film, certainly good for parents and children (probably a bit scary for younger children). I think it is the sort of film you can simply enjoy but also could spark some really important and great discussions (respect, love, understanding etc).
this review was originally posted on http://thoughtexperiences.blogspot.com.au