Directors: Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
Writer: Brenda Chapman
Released: June 2012
Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson
I was so certain I had written a review on this film…
Anyway, it’s a medieval, Scottish-based Disney Pixar animation film about a young fiery red-headed princess named Merida (Kelly Macdonald). Her youth and freedom is threatened when her parents organise suiters to win her hand in marriage. She rebels and enlists a witch to change her mum (Emma Thompson) in order to change her fate.
While the dodgy witch (Julie Walters) did make her mother change, she changed her into a bear. This did change Merida’s fate but not in the most ideal way. Therefore, Merida has to find a way to break the spell.
Princess Merida: [narrating] There are those who say fate is something beyond our command. That destiny is not our own, but I know better. Our fate lives within us, you only have to be brave enough to see it.
My favourite scenes all include Angus, Merida’s shire horse. She frequently rides him bareback as they gallop across the Scottish countryside – it’s so dreamy! I spoke about him being one of my favourite animated horses here.
There are a lot of firsts for this movie: Merida is the first princess to not have a love interest, she’s the first to have brothers, and Brave is the first ever Disney film to be entirely set in a historic past.
The lack of romance was probably to set a tone with the equal-rights and gender equality movement of today. Brave shows a strong, independent young woman who ‘don’t need no man’ and can make her own life decisions. It is one step up from Frozen‘s theme of only needing love from family and not necessarily romantic love, I suppose.
While I appreciate we should be shifting our attitudes with gender equality, I really hope the classic Disney love stories don’t die out. I feel like there is a movement shunning princess movies and ‘happily ever afters’.
I saw a video recently where the gender roles were swapped in Cinderella, called ‘Cindefella‘. The story shows a peasant boy who goes to a ball and falls in love with a princess, who then tries to find him after he bails at midnight. Just like in the traditional fairytale, they both marry in the end and live happily ever after.
This video was used as an example of gender inequality: ‘we wouldn’t read this to our sons so why would we read it to our daughters?’ Quite frankly, I don’t think the story was all that bad for girls or boys, gender swaps or not.
While I did enjoy Brave, it wasn’t what I expected. I thought it would carry the tone of the first half of the film where Merida is fun and free and exploring the world right to the end. But it quickly turns into a far more unrealistic tale about turning people into bears, which I found to lack entertainment and relatability. It just took a weird and unexpected turn for me.
Overall, it had some comedic moments and I did enjoy the first half of the film, but it’s not my favourite.
Jodie’s rating: 6/10