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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2012-07-01 06:58
Subject: [movies] Brave (low spoiler review)
Security: Public
Tags:child, family, movies, reviews
Yesterday, [info]lillypond (a/k/a my sister) and I took [info]the_child and the Niece to see Braveimdb ], at the Neptune Theater in Long Beach, WA. The cinema was definitely a small town operation, which was fine, though the film broke during a key scene about halfway through. After ten or fifteen minutes of trying to splice the movie, the projectionist gave up and started the next reel.

So we missed a few things.

I really did like this movie. It was quite entertaining, which is the primary purpose of any movie. Cinema should not be prophylactic. (Or at least, not inherently so.) I liked pretty much all the characters. I liked that there was neither a classic Disney villain nor a classic Disney death-of-the-parent trope. Merida's fundamental conflicts were natural outcomes of her situation in life and her relationship with her parents. Her story problem arose logically enough from believably bad teen choices. She and her mother ultimately rescued themselves from their challenges through being both smart and, well, brave. Brave was funny, at times witty, and fun to watch.

There were some things in the movie that bothered me, but honestly, not a lot. I did not like Merida's grossly stereotyped rebellious, self-actualized, fiery redhead, heroine of a hundred bad fantasy novels. I did not like the goofy cartoonization of Celtic culture. I did not like the overromanticization of the Medieval lifestyle. I thought the brothers were overplayed, even given their basic role as comedic foils. But I can live with all that. It was a solid story that didn't fall back on a simplistic moral axis to make its point or resolve its plot.

Interestingly, the Lake family did not agree on what we'd seen. I felt like the ostensible plot problem that initially drove the story never got resolved. [info]the_child felt like it was. My Dad (who had already seen the movie) derived a completely different moral from the plot than I did. We wound up discussing this quite a bit, which made for good family conversation.

I will also note passim that if you go to this movie based on seeing the previews, you will probably surprised. The gap between the film and the previews is far more yawning than even the usual such disconnect. Definitely worth your time, though, unless you just can't sit through feature-length animation.

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mcjulie
User: mcjulie
Date: 2012-07-01 14:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I did not like Merida's grossly stereotyped rebellious, self-actualized, fiery redhead, heroine of a hundred bad fantasy novels

But my inner 10-year-old girl will never get tired of that character!

Actually, this movie was pretty much made exactly for my inner 10-year-old -- it even has horses! If I have a complaint, it's that adult me found it a little too... simple, I guess. It was the rare Pixar movie that felt like it was *for* kids rather than for all ages. But I felt that way about Finding Nemo, too, and about most of Cars. (Which is elevated by a brilliant animated love letter to Route 66.)

It's not really a complaint, except that I think Brave had the potential to be even better than it was.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2012-07-01 18:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's not on my must-see list, I have to say. I'm so over seeing Celts represented that way. (I'm Welsh, not Scottish, but all the same...)
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-07-01 18:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
There's also bonus Pict in the movie. With about the same level of sophistication and respect.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2012-07-01 18:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Headdesk.
Now, The Eagle, that tried to get beyond the stereotypes.
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Ruth
User: roooof
Date: 2012-07-01 21:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
As a family, we didn't find it nearly as bad as other media has been and we're all from Glasgow - a lot of proper Scots slang without the need to explain or Anglicize it, an actual Doric speaker, and nods to classic phrases meant that we were pretty happy with it overall.

Edited at 2012-07-01 09:30 pm (UTC)
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2012-07-02 09:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That's good to hear. Pixar do try and get things right, at least.
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kellymccullough
User: kellymccullough
Date: 2012-07-02 14:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I married a rebellious, self-actualized, fiery redhead, and we started dating 23 years ago when said redhead was about Merida's age. So, though I see the stereotype, it also maps onto a real person for me and thus registers as much less of a stereotype. After seeing the movie a mutual friend suggested that my wife Laura really ought to be receiving royalties or residuals or something from the Merida character.
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