Flickering Myth’s writing team count down to the UK release of Monsters University by picking their favourite Pixar Movies; next up is Villordsutch with Brave…
Brave is a fantastic film set in my ancestor’s home of Scotland. I’m half Scottish / half Dutch (all Viking) and worry about my history being altered either by anti-Semitic drunken Australians, or by having the stereotypes ramped up to the maximum with wailing bagpipes and haggis’ frolicking in the patches of heather (everyone knows they prefer thistles). Brave however doesn’t attempt to rewrite any history and it doesn’t dabble too much into Scottish stereotyping.
Now here is the odd thing about Brave – it isn’t my favourite Pixar film, but I find it fantastic. Not fantastic for the amazing animation, nor fantastic for the outstanding beauty of the Highlands of Scotland, painted in the background for only our minds to see as our eyes keep a watch on our heroine and her story. In my critical point of view the film appears to be to short and the story not overly engaging, but I have to be honest when I say that this film is fantastic to me for its effect.
Up until Shrek, princesses ticked the boxes of hostage / thin waists / good with singing animals. These women were weak and useless. People watched these films being told that all women need rescuing and that they can’t cope without a strong man. Utter pap, and I dislike any film that sneaks this message home. Especially as I’ve always given my girls the choice and never attempted to hold them back as it isn’t the right thing to do for a girl. I don’t want my girls only having films which whisper the above fibs in their ears.
As I said before, it’s the effect of Brave is what makes me love the film so much, and even on the re-watch this effect increases. I shan’t tease you any longer about this effect – it’s the fire that Merida places into my two youngest daughters’ hearts. Gone was the twee, “sucker for a poisoned apple” representation; instead they were being shown they should be what they should be. Not as a tomboy but what a girl is. A person who wants to run, climb, play football and read, but if the moment called for it play with their Sylvanian Families.
It was odd to witness the effect appear. My wife Jeanie and I were leaving the cinema with our daughters. The two youngest appeared to be a bit hyper, not just because of the film, this wasn’t irritating hyper this was inspired and proud hyper. They started to discuss (in between the film) what they achieved at school, books read, bullies they’ve stood up to for their friends and also that they wanted to take up archery. The conversation continued along this path on the drive home.
Come Christmas, months after Brave left the cinema, on both of their Christmas lists, they asked for a Brave bow and arrow set and a Brave figure (the eldest asked for money – nothing to do with Brave). Sadly Toys R Us nor Father Christmas had neither of these items. In June – a year since we watched Brave – it was the birthday of our youngest (the big 9) and on a trip to Toys R Us the figures were there and she spent her birthday cash on the full set.
Recently we bought Brave on Blu-ray and as Saturday is our movie evening, we watched this and the effect was back. Belly laughter rolled out of them and excited, eager eyes looked at us (Jeanie and myself) for a split second when a strong and powerful scene played out in front of them, wanting to see if we too were held by it. When it finished our daughters stood up, and it could be an illusion or trick of the eye, but both seemed that bit taller and their eyes that bit wider. Once again the fire had been stoked.
Brave is a fantastic film.
Villordsutch is married with kids and pets. He looks like a tubby Viking and enjoys science fiction. Follow him on Twitter.