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Movie Review: Brave

I love me a good Girl Power Flick. Seriously. If a girl is kicking ass and taking names, I'm all over it. One of my favorite movies of all time is about women in a "Man's" world (A League of Their Own, 1992). When Pixar began advertising this movie, and how it's their first film about a girl, I knew I wanted to see it (Although, seriously Pixar. HOW many movies did it take? Sheesh!).

Based off the trailers I saw, I figured she'd ask for a spell to change her fate (which, I have to say. HOW many times can you say "Fate" in a movie? You could turn it into a Scotch-drinking game!), and end up in some alternate reality, a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episode 3.09 "The Wish." Not entirely the case, and I'm not really sure how I feel about it.

I can't really say too much without giving away the plot of the movie, but I do have to say this. No one ever really goes to great lengths to discuss the mother-daughter dynamic unless you're Susan Sarandon. Examples:

But, I digress. For Pixar, nay, almost ANY animation company, this is the first time they've ever covered the dynamic between mothers and daughters. In case you've forgotten, in Disney, if you're a mother, you only have a son, or you're dead. Unless you're Mrs. Fa from Mulan, but that story wasn't about their relationship.

Merida, our heroine, voiced by the co-star of Showtime's Boardwalk Empire, Kelly MacDonald, and her mother, Elinor, voiced by the wonderfully versatile, Emma Thompson, are constantly butting heads over Merida's future. Being circa-Braveheart Scotland, women were really only good for two things. We won't really get into those because it's a family movie (despite all the nudity! True story!), but that was what Elinor was preparing Merida for. As a child, Merida follows little blue will-o-wisps until they lead her back to her parents. Her mother tells her at a young age that to follow the wisps would be to follow her fate. Anyone else get advice like that from their parents that they keep well into adulthood (which, for Merida is about thirteen)? Mine was "You can be whatever you want to be." It still stands, but while I'm waiting for "Whatever I want to be" to kick in, I have to actually "work." *shrugs* All in a day.

Anyhoozlebees, after a huge fight with Elinor, where Merida, taking a lawyer's view of the law ("First born get the chance to fight for the Princess's hand in marriage,"), Merida, shooting for her own hand, plants a bullseye in each target of her so-called suitors, and embarrasses not only her mother, but the visiting Lords. Arguing ensues, and they both say things they don't mean. Merida flees to the woods where she comes across...those pesky Wisps. They lead her straight to the Wood Shop of a Whittler/Witch (Julie Walters), who is a bit daffy in her age, but aren't all witches? Despite her artisty, of course. I need to get in contact with her before Christmas if she "ships within a fortnight," like she said.

She gets her spell, but it doesn't change her fate the way she expects it will (because, these things never work out like that). I have to stop talking here before I give away the plot, but suffice it to say, Merida learns to appreciate her mother, her family and her place, and Elinor learns a thing or ten about her headstrong, ginger-curled daughter.

I got to see this movie with my own mother and I realized how thankful I am that she and I see eye to eye on most everything in life. We've always had a great relationship, and if I don't tell her something, it gnaws on me. That bit's a little annoying, but the rest of our relationship is great.

All in all, I enjoyed most aspects of this movie. The animation was on par with Avatar (which, if nothing else, Avatar's scenery and effects were stunning), and the music is gorgeous. Billy Connolly (playing Merida's father, the king, Fergus) and Emma Thompson both sing songs on a score by Patrick Doyle.

Now that I've seen this movie, there's only one thing I need to do: Watch it again and figure out who "Gordon" was. Voiced by Pixar Alum, John Ratzenberger, who has had a part in every single Pixar film, to date.

Oh, and this movie also makes me want to start up the sister singing duo with my sis, Kiri, called Sidhe (Shee). Gaelic music does that to me.


  1. Gordon was the soldier who announced the arrival of the visiting lords and I think, was cut off by the door slamming open? I think he was also the one who called for the gate closing when Elinor ran for the hills. I recognized his voice when I heard it, but it was a tiny role (like the mole man in Incredibles small)


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