So normally this blog is reserved for well thought out reviews of movies I’ve had plenty of time to analyze and dissect over the course of a week. However, I have decided to include a new segment, Rants and Raves, that will consist of my initial reactions to movies I’ve just seen (new or old). Unfortunately, my first post in this segment is a rant. I just got back from seeing “Brave” and was drastically disappointed. SPOILERS AHEAD! READ ON AT YOUR OWN RISK!!! Now that I have warned you, let us continue.
Ok, so you know how most of the trailers and tv spots for this movie made it seem like it was a movie promoting the ideals of following your heart and not letting societies rules and expectations get in the way of who you really are, like this one?
Yeah, they gave that up less than halfway through the movie. Instead, the main character puts a curse on her mom and the rest of the movie is spent following the main character realizing how selfish she is and how she should have just accepted that her mom was doing everything out of love.
Hold on a minute. Her mom spent the entire first half hour of the movie trying to turn Merida into something she clearly is not. Both characters needed to listen to each other more, but every time Merida tried to get her mom to listen she would just retort with how she’s the queen so she doesn’t have to. Why, in this case, should I believe that Merida was just being selfish in trying to “change her destiny”? Her destiny sucked! I would have tried to change it, too! Sure, the way Merida went about trying to change her fate wasn’t well thought out or even a good idea, but I wouldn’t call her selfish for trying to gain even an ounce of freedom to choose for herself.
Now, some people might say “But her mom changes, too!” Yes, this is true. The mom does change her mind and doesn’t force Merida to get married. However, this does not change the fact that the mom actually was being selfish in the beginning by trying to change Merida into something she wasn’t while Merida was simply trying to live her life the way she felt most comfortable. It is not until her right to choose for herself is dangerously threatened that Merida tries to change her mother, whereas her mother was trying to change her simply because of who she was and not because of anything that was actually wrong with her daughter.
If you take a look back to that TV Spot I posted above, you will notice that the tag line for this movie is “If you had the chance to change your fate, would you?” This of course implies that Merida’s attempt at changing her fate is a good thing, and thus I am completely baffled by the movie switching the viewpoint halfway through to imply that her attempt at changing her future was selfish. Yes, everyone is happy at the end of the film, but this comes at the cost of sending young girls the message that societies expectations are there for a reason and that only under extreme circumstances should you question them. In fact, the short film before “Brave”, titled “La Luna”, did a much better job at portraying the message that doing things your own way can be beneficial to everyone.
Pixar had a great opportunity here to tell young girls, and young boys for that matter, that societies expectations are not always going to be the correct path. Instead, they showed that you can get what you want, but not before admitting that you’re just being selfish and shouldn’t have argued in the first place.