Pixar's "Brave" - Females and Frizziness!

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Pixar's "Brave" - Females and Frizziness!

Postby cjdrum » Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:54 pm UTC

Pixar's feature release for 2012 is a movie called Brave. If you haven't seen a trailer for it... Uh, go to the cinema more often. It's everywhere!

Pixar is, of course, the studio that gave us Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., Toy Story, A Bug's Life, The Incredibles, Up... All of which set a very high benchmark. But does Brave appear to live up to its predecessors?

I'm feeling no compulsion to see the film except for the animation studio's almost perfect record! Has anyone found any other reason to look forward to its release? I need to get excited about it!

Brave is scheduled to release June 22, 2012.
Last edited by cjdrum on Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:48 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Brave ~ Pixar's Unlucky 13th?

Postby natraj » Sat Jun 09, 2012 1:58 pm UTC

uh, wow, yeah, i am totally psyched to see this movie. from the previews it looks totally awesome. i mean, gorgeous animation aside, it looks like a really fun adventure-ish fairy-tale-ish story that subverts the sexist damsel in distress trope. and it's pixar's first female protagonist! i hope it is good because if it isn't i am sure plenty of people will rush to blame having a female lead and then they won't make more for forever.

but the previews have made me excited to see it, my brother was really excited too and it comes out on his birthday so maybe we will go see it on its premier day.
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Re: Brave ~ Pixar's Unlucky 13th?

Postby pseudoidiot » Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:09 pm UTC

Yeah, if the trailers don't really make you want to see it, I don't know that anyone is going to be able to say anything to get you excited.

I'm definitely looking forward to seeing Brave.
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Re: Brave ~ Pixar's Unlucky 13th?

Postby IcedT » Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:26 pm UTC

I love all things Pixar and most things Scottish, so yes I'm pretty excited about this one.

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Re: Brave ~ Pixar's Unlucky 13th?

Postby charliepanayi » Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:43 pm UTC

It's Pixar and it's not Cars, of course I'm looking forward to it. Pixar's track record means I trust them to deliver yet again.
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Re: Brave ~ Pixar's Unlucky 13th?

Postby sophyturtle » Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:51 pm UTC

It is coming out on my birthday and I am taking that as a sign that I need to see it.
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Re: Brave ~ Pixar's Unlucky 13th?

Postby Angua » Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:50 pm UTC

I think it looks really good.

Plus what natraj said about having a female lead and subverting the whole 'women are the prize that men get when they do well thing'.
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Re: Brave ~ Pixar's Unlucky 13th?

Postby Zohar » Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:02 pm UTC

I'm definitely interested. That said, my problem with how the film looks now is that it wouldn't work with a boy instead of a girl. The girl is there to be all feminist and so on. And that's fine, but how feminist is that? I'd like them to do a movie that has a strong woman character and has nothing to do with her being specifically a woman.

The Hunger Games, for example, is different - true, there's romance elements, but nothing about Katniss being a girl is particularly important to the plot. She's a lead character who just happens to be a woman.

I may be wrong, of course, since I haven't seen it, but it certainly seems this way from the material they released.
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Re: Brave ~ Pixar's Unlucky 13th?

Postby IcedT » Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:37 am UTC

Zohar wrote:I'm definitely interested. That said, my problem with how the film looks now is that it wouldn't work with a boy instead of a girl. The girl is there to be all feminist and so on. And that's fine, but how feminist is that? I'd like them to do a movie that has a strong woman character and has nothing to do with her being specifically a woman.

The Hunger Games, for example, is different - true, there's romance elements, but nothing about Katniss being a girl is particularly important to the plot. She's a lead character who just happens to be a woman.

I may be wrong, of course, since I haven't seen it, but it certainly seems this way from the material they released.

Katniss is a lead character who happens to be a woman, but she's also a lead character who has most of the important decisions made for her. She's not exactly a shining example of the feminist ideal from what I've read. Better than another story about how much it rawks to be a dude, but it's still basically a fairy tale.

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Re: Brave ~ Pixar's Unlucky 13th?

Postby Endless Mike » Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:15 pm UTC

Wow, this soon? I'm definitely looking forward to it. It's a Pixar movie! I'm not, however, looking forward to seeing a family movie, since people around here can't seem to not take their kids to R rated movies, never mind PG ones.

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Re: Brave ~ Pixar's Unlucky 13th?

Postby natraj » Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:02 pm UTC

Endless Mike wrote:Wow, this soon? I'm definitely looking forward to it. It's a Pixar movie! I'm not, however, looking forward to seeing a family movie, since people around here can't seem to not take their kids to R rated movies, never mind PG ones.


uh, yeah, i mean why would they not take their kids to a PG movie? you say that as if not bringing your kids places (... and specifically children-intended places like a pg movie moreover!) is something that parents should be expected to do.

@Zohar: yeah, i had that concern too! i mean i am pretty psyched to see it because the movie looks great, but i also would totally prefer if their first female lead was not, you know, just about Being A Woman. like women characters have to be defined by their woman-ness. that is kind of frustrating.
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Re: Brave ~ Pixar's Unlucky 13th?

Postby Diadem » Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:22 pm UTC

natraj wrote:
Endless Mike wrote:Wow, this soon? I'm definitely looking forward to it. It's a Pixar movie! I'm not, however, looking forward to seeing a family movie, since people around here can't seem to not take their kids to R rated movies, never mind PG ones.

uh, yeah, i mean why would they not take their kids to a PG movie? you say that as if not bringing your kids places (... and specifically children-intended places like a pg movie moreover!) is something that parents should be expected to do.

I think he means that if you go to a PG movie the theatre will be filled with families, which means lots of kids shouting and talking through the entire movie.

That's a real problem with family movies. One that is fortunately solved though by going to a late-night showing.
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Re: Brave ~ Pixar's Unlucky 13th?

Postby KestrelLowing » Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:55 pm UTC

I can't be the only one who looks at her hair and just goes: HOLY CRAP, AWESOME!!!!

But I'm very excited about seeing this. I love me some Pixar, and I love me some fairytails, and I love me some 'girl doesn't want to do traditional stuff' plot lines.

And I hear the complaints about it being a female because it has to be a female, but give them time. Society is much better with 'boy stories' as it's much more acceptable for females to see 'boy stories' while a male going to see a 'girl story' is somehow viewed as weird (See, My Little Pony - FiM). Even if a story isn't inherently gendered, society tends to prefer a boy protagonist and Pixar, over everything, must make a profit. So I say any female in a lead role is a great step towards something.

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Re: Brave ~ Pixar's Unlucky 13th?

Postby Endless Mike » Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:13 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
natraj wrote:
Endless Mike wrote:Wow, this soon? I'm definitely looking forward to it. It's a Pixar movie! I'm not, however, looking forward to seeing a family movie, since people around here can't seem to not take their kids to R rated movies, never mind PG ones.

uh, yeah, i mean why would they not take their kids to a PG movie? you say that as if not bringing your kids places (... and specifically children-intended places like a pg movie moreover!) is something that parents should be expected to do.

I think he means that if you go to a PG movie the theatre will be filled with families, which means lots of kids shouting and talking through the entire movie.

That's a real problem with family movies. One that is fortunately solved though by going to a late-night showing.

Yeah, this. I'm not blaming anyone for taking their family to family movies. Quite the opposite - that's what they're for (certainly more appropriate than taking them to American Reunion, which I had the misfortune of being around for). It's just that I don't like going to movies with lots of kids, which means going to family movies is not really something I enjoy doing. I'll probably find a late-night screening.

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Re: Brave ~ Pixar's Unlucky 13th?

Postby pseudoidiot » Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:21 pm UTC

KestrelLowing wrote:I can't be the only one who looks at her hair and just goes: HOLY CRAP, AWESOME!!!!
I can't find an online version of the article, but I was reading in this month's Wired that Pixar had to come up with some interesting animation tricks to get her curly hair to animate right. It's apparently a pretty tricky problem and it's only recently that the technology exists to do it well.
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Re: Pixar's "Brave" - Females and Frizziness!

Postby Lucrece » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:36 am UTC

Didn't Tangled do well and have a female protagonist as well? I don't see why anyone would think a female protagonist would hurt. Twilight smashed the box office, and I'm sorry to burst people's bubble but it surely didn't just do that through sole female viewership.

What I like about Brave is how it tackles gender stereotypes. Hopefully, the message will be more broad and the movie will show that how the men in the movie self-impose ridiculous restrictions, it ends up hurting everybody. I also sincerely hope they don't boggle the protagonist down with a romantic interest. It'd be nice to have a movie with a female lead where the message wasn't "end up paired to live happily ever after" -- if action movies can pull the single male, women should get the same.
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Re: Pixar's "Brave" - Females and Frizziness!

Postby willaaaaaa » Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:57 pm UTC

I just saw "Brave" over the weekend and I really liked it... I even started tearing up twice. :oops: It's definitely true that the protagonist's "female-ness" is central to the plot, but more than that, I think it is a story about the parent-child bond and its ability to weather the spite and turmoil of adolescence. That's something most of us can relate to.

Oh, and Pixar graphics, always great. I loved looking at her hair.
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Re: Pixar's "Brave" - Females and Frizziness!

Postby sophyturtle » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:25 am UTC

It seems to me the 'non-traditional lady' bit is more of a set up for the story than anything else.
Either way I loved it.
I should know, I have seen it 3 times.
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Re: Pixar's "Brave" - Females and Frizziness!

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:51 am UTC

My mom and I went to see it and we both LOVED it! She was amazed at how the hair was done on both Merida and the horse. She commented on how the folks at Pixar must have really done their homework on Shire horses, which is the breed of horse Merida owns. She said the proportions were right, the mane, tail, feathers, and beard were perfect. The only gripe she had was the nose; it needed a bit more pink.

I really loved the landscape shots and some of the exterior shots of the castle. Looked very realistic. Also loved how they tied in Celtic legend into the story. My only gripe was with the will o' the wisps:

Spoiler:
In the movie, they lead her to her next step on her journey, and how to solve her problems; in reality, they were believed to lead travelers astray, causing them to drown or stray from the main road or path.
.

Was it just me, or was anyone else reminded of Navi from "The Legend of Zelda" whenever the wisps appeared? I expected one to do a high-pitched "Hey! Listen!"

Also, major spoiler alert below (ye hath been warned!)

Spoiler:
To summarize most of the plot, think of "Brother Bear" + "Mulan" but in Scotland, instead of in China or Alaska.


It has a PG rating for a couple of reasons:

Spoiler:
1. Gruesome animal-on-human violence
2. Rear nudity
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Re: Pixar's "Brave" - Females and Frizziness!

Postby Vaniver » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:01 am UTC

Saw it today. Enjoyed parts of it, overall unimpressed. (I think I enjoyed La Luna, the short film paired with it, more.) Putting an in-depth discussion in spoilers:

Spoiler:
Lucrece wrote:What I like about Brave is how it tackles gender stereotypes.
Tackled gender stereotypes? On the whole, the stereotypes looked to be the same as they have been for decades now: there's the willful tomboy, mischievous male children, large oaf of a father, and violently stupid Scots. The only change is that the wicked stepmother has transformed into the... wicked mother!

The more positive psychology (techniques that help people live more effectively) I learn, the more frustrated I am by movies, since so frequently the issue is an easily solved communication breakdown. Brave almost lampshades this, with the scene where Eleonore explains herself to Feargus and Merida explains herself to Angus, cut so that they're talking past each other. (It's great filmography, but in part because it shows how ineffective they both are.)

Allow me to paint two pictures of Brave:

1. A brave and adventurous girl, M, takes her destiny into her own hands; her domineering mother, E, finally learns to listen when deprived of the ability to speak. E's pride is dissolved by her love, and the two agree that M should be able to chart her own destiny. They ride off into the sunset, both enjoying each other's company for the first time in years.

2. A queen, E, has the interests of the realm at stake, and sees the princess, M, as a misbehaving tool; M selfishly wants to spend her days reliving her childhood, rather than being an adult. Their conflict comes to a head when it comes time to betrothe M. By tradition, the eldest son of the three vassal clans competes to determine which will marry M. M feels unready, and complains bitterly to her horse.

After the competition, M shames the three suitors and runs off into the woods, and the shame and breach of tradition strikes off a war, thankfully kept small by only the clan heads and their honor guards being present. Children are orphaned and wives widowed, but offscreen.

M encounters the witch who had ruined the region's previous kingdom, and begs her to cast a spell to warp E's mind, bringing her under M's control, trading away a priceless family heirloom. Her incompetent request results in a spell which will warp E's body, specifically into her husband's hated foe, so that E will be completely cut off from her social support network. M then hexes E.

M and E escape the castle into the woods, where E's skills at creation and diplomacy are worthless, but M's skills in murder and foraging are not. E learns the joy of mastery in the wilds, and recognizes M's skills as genuine mastery.

A few adventures ensue, and M obtains the desired mind change: E puts M's wishes above the good of the realm, and the tradition changes to allow future rulers to marry for love, decreasing the ties between neighbors and making future wars more likely.

As the first story, it's ok. It's interesting that while the story is told from Merida's perspective, Eleonore is the only one that grows-* she goes from seeing Merida as an extension of herself to seeing Merida as her own person, and that's a necessary foundation for a healthy relationship. If the core message of the movie is "other people aren't supporting characters; listen to them," then I like it. If the core message of the movie is "girls don't have to get married, and if they do they should get married for love," then... okay? When was the last time three guys shot arrows to see who would get to marry a girl you knew?

So, if we view it just as a story that teaches effective listening and relationships between equals based on mutual respect, does it have any flaws? Well... the mechanism by which Eleonore and Merida's relationship grows is that Merida silences and then kidnaps Eleonore so that E will grow to appreciate M, which is actually really dark and not the sort of thing I would recommend or condone. The respect is a one-way street, here: the parents are expected to respect their children, and let them have their way, the consequences be damned.

Speaking of that, let's talk about the consequences. The inclusion of the coating of the second story without the content bothers me. If you're nobility, your life is not your own; your decisions have far-ranging repercussions. The price for living in the nice castle and having servants is that you have to serve them back. But that story is simply not relevant for most people anymore, and so it seems to be included to give Eleonore an easily overcome obstacle. Eleonore and Merida would just get along if Eleonore realized that she wasn't a queen in the pre-industrial era! ... wait, Eleonore is a queen in the pre-industrial era. If early Eleonore is right- that Merida should be a lady and consent to being married off so that war will not happen and the realm will stay placid- then Merida is a reckless murderer, who would be hard pressed to explain her reluctance to the orphans caused by her pride. At the least, Eleonore should make Merida fully aware of the consequences before she makes her choice.

And so why include the possibility that early Eleonore was right? Contrast this to, say, Fiddler on the Roof (written over a century ago!)- in which the eldest daughter wants to marry a poor tailor instead of a rich butcher, and the father decides to let her. Well, her father thinks, she probably won't starve, and she might be happier poor but with someone she loves than rich but with someone she doesn't. Everyone seems reasonable about it, actually weighing the perceived consequences rather than being guided solely by emotion, and the perceived consequences are close enough that it is a difficult decision about which reasonable people could differ.

I mean, in Brave, the scene where Eleonore pantomimes to Merida the speech that they should break with tradition- why is Eleonore doing that? As far as I can tell, it's because of her pride in Merida, and her acknowledgement that Merida is able to care for herself. But did she want Merida to get married off so that a man could care for her? No- and so Eleonore looks like she's on emotional override rather than making a carefully considered decision. (Now, the decision to postpone the betrothal until later, so it can be carefully considered with Merida's input, could be wise; but the decision to give Merida free rein on who to marry is simply unwise.)

*Merida has one instance of personal growth: when she takes responsibility for hexing her mother, which she does at the absolute latest possible time.


PatrickRsGhost wrote:My only gripe was with the will o' the wisps:
Oh totally. As soon as I saw her chase the first wisp, I had a sinking feeling that she had made a terrible mistake. Interestingly, though:
Spoiler:
It looked to me like the wisps were the manifestations of Mor'Du's spirit- and I think it's an interesting undercurrent that Mor'Du was totally willing to potentially ruin this girl's life if it led to him finally being laid to rest. It works out in the end due to luck and Merida's talents.
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Re: Pixar's "Brave" - Females and Frizziness!

Postby Lucrece » Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:58 am UTC

Regarding arranged marriage:

Spoiler:
Marriage is not a simple contract. By being given away to a man who feels entitled to her, the note they start the relationship on is one of absolute Hell for the woman. How could we expect any human to react happily to being sold to a stranger for the good of the many? I think we reached a point later on in many nations (including the US) where we realized the importance of the individual's happiness. It's not irresponsible to be resentful of being given to a man who won you by display of force, whom you're not even sure won't treat you like a slave, let alone rape you and beat you if he so wishes.

So what if widows are made out of her refusal? The obvious response would be to trade fealty for agency. She didn't choose to be born in an upper station that came with expectations, and it's not like those expectations didn't remain the same for many lower class women at that age and still in many parts of the world today. That's not a kind of selfish I consider flaw or immature. Being part of the nobility demands no sacrifice -- those people are willingly giving you power, and they can rescind it whenever they want if they're unhappy with your refusal to be traded around like cattle for contest breeding.
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Re: Pixar's "Brave" - Females and Frizziness!

Postby sophyturtle » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:56 pm UTC

On the betrothal thing.
Spoiler:
At the end when Merida is talking about breaking the tradition and letting people find their own love the dudes are totally into it. Because they don't want to have to marry someone they did not choose either. It is the basic marriage to bond kingdoms thing.

On the Mom.
Spoiler:
She is not the wicked mother. They each love each other, Merida is just not wanting to do her school work type stuff and her mom is preoccupied with being a queen. I think because she started off not being so well off. She is not wicked, she is just the mother of a teenager.
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Re: Pixar's "Brave" - Females and Frizziness!

Postby Vaniver » Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:43 pm UTC

Another interpretation, and responses, and names now spelled the way they were in the film:
Spoiler:
What if the film is an allegory? Parents in the US don't pressure their children into arranged marriages- but they do pressure them into going to college, which many 18 year olds are unready for and shouldn't do. (The adult alternative, though, is not hunting every day but getting a different class of job- and so the story doesn't quite line up.)

Lucrece wrote:How could we expect any human to react happily to being sold to a stranger for the good of the many?
This is actually a point that I thought Brave shined on: Elinor's confession that she had reservations about her betrothal (and Fergus's face when he heard it), and with the three suitors all agreeing that marrying for love would be nicer (like sophyturtle pointed out).

Lucrece wrote:I think we reached a point later on in many nations (including the US) where we realized the importance of the individual's happiness.
Sure! Individual happiness is something I value highly, and I'm bothered that it's given such weak support with the story of Brave. Consider another movie they could have made, Paisley, about a Scottish girl on the cusp of womanhood who gets a job in one of the first textile mills and is able to support herself and live independently through hard work.* This story has the supreme virtue of having actually happened: arranged marriage was not done away with because a preteen girl complained that she wasn't ready, it was done away with because people got richer and could afford something better.

That actually suggests a broader point- autonomy (of all kinds) is a luxury (in the technical sense that people consume more of it with higher incomes). A story that showed how higher incomes lead to more luxury consumption strikes me as a good example- a story that glorifies consuming luxuries that the characters can't afford strikes me as a bad example.

*In China, it is still common for men to purchase women as wives with gifts to her family. Sweatshops offer high enough wages for women to give back something more valuable, buying themselves back, and then allowing them to marry whoever they want to (or not get married if they are so inclined). I'm not familiar enough with pre-industrial Scotland to know if that particular custom was around, but it seems likely that something similar was- and it would be a natural replacement for the archery contest.

sophyturtle wrote:She is not the wicked mother.
Sure- by "wicked" I meant "in the protagonist's way" rather than "anti-social." Suppose instead we want to label "wicked" the characters who are willing to harm their families (and others) for personal gain: well, that's Merida and Mor'du.
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Re: Pixar's "Brave" - Females and Frizziness!

Postby Diadem » Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:51 pm UTC

I really want to see this movie, but it's not coming out for another month over here. Damned delayed releases.
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Re: Pixar's "Brave" - Females and Frizziness!

Postby AvatarIII » Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:31 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:I really want to see this movie, but it's not coming out for another month over here. Damned delayed releases.


Disney always release movies in Europe ages after the US, it really grinds my gears.

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Re: Pixar's "Brave" - Females and Frizziness!

Postby Diadem » Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:15 pm UTC

I don't understand why studios do it in this day and age. For minor releases or surprise hits it might make sense. But this movie was set to be released in Europe from the start, so why not release it at the same time. Surely to lose a ton of potential viewers to the internet like this?
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
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charliepanayi
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Re: Pixar's "Brave" - Females and Frizziness!

Postby charliepanayi » Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:37 pm UTC

Looking at the grosses for Pixar films, I don't think the amount of money each film makes is exactly suffering from the way they release them, they all rake it in. And let's face it, the main audience for these films are hardly likely to resort to downloading.

Of course it's still irritating having to wait!
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