Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[movies] Brave (low spoiler review)

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.

Tags: child, family, movies, reviews

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