What’s Making Me Happy this week – Week 30
Posted by Hedwig on July 29, 2012
I’d originally planned to talk about comedy in this post (I’ve been watching a lot of COMMUNITY and PARKS AND RECREATION lately), but I just got home from BRAVE, and well, it made me very happy.
On the one hand, I can understand that the reviews were a bit more muted than usual with Pixar: the film doesn’t have anything comparing to WALL-E watching HELLO, DOLLY, the silent montage at the beginning of UP or the toys facing their doom together in TOY STORY 3. Despite the fact that this story has actual magic in it, it doesn’t quite get to the magical level that some moments in previous Pixar films achieved. It does, unfortunately, suffer from the same flaw as most Pixars, devolving into a fairly generic action movie in the third act.
Still, it made me positively giddy. Merida, to start with, is a great character, rising above the tomboy stereotype: she looks down on girly stuff, but that’s mostly because its constraining her. It’s not so much that she wants to be a boy, but that she wants the freedom granted only to boys in her world. And in the end, her prowess with a bow isn’t what saves the day. Oh, and her hair is fantastic, a triumph of animation.
I also loved that the relationship between Merida and her mother Elinor is so central to the film. Elinor’s an interesting character too: you can tell she enjoys being good at being the queen/moderator/voice of reason, but that this is not necessarily a role she’s chosen for herself. Her husband is an immature, belligerent oaf, and after all, someone has to keep the realm together. It’s a very recognizable dynamic, but one we don’t usually see in fairy tale films: princesses tend to be motherless, after all.
Most of all, I love that the first female Pixar heroine was not saddled with a romantic storyline. I was already happy that SNOW WHITE didn’t end up with either Huntsman of Prince, but she still had to go through the whole kissing business. When Merida says she’ll compete for her own hand, though, she means it: it’s not so much that she doesn’t want these three suitors, it’s that she has little use for suitors in general. The words “I love you” are uttered, and are very very important in the story, but the love we see celebrated here isn’t romantic love, and that almost never happens in female-centric kid’s stories.
The three little brothers made me laugh, especially toward the end of the film. That this kind of story finally gets told? That makes me happy.