why i didn't like "Brave"

*spoiler alert* if you haven't watched it yet, i'm going to reveal the plot and outcome. ye be warned.

oh brave, we've been waiting for this movie to come out for a long time. everytime i saw a preview, my heart thumped a little. the scottish accents! the fiery red hair! those cute little boys!  it was going to be a great family movie for sure. for some reason, i missed the fact that it was PG, and assumed it was G. we really limit the pg around here and i'll tell you why later.

anyways, monday night is family night and we all went. great grandma leavitt graciously stayed at home with rodney and phoebe (i don't waste movie money on kids that won't remember it).  now it was cute, don't get me wrong. of course it was cute! how else could they get you into the theatre?

so why didn't i like brave? because it force fed my children things i don't believe to be true.

1. you can change your fate.  a. i don't believe in fate. you're life is a series of choices and once you are an adult you have control to change your life.
2. you can only be happy if you change your fate (see #1.)
3. you can only change your fate by going to a "witch" and using a "spell" (no real work needed!)
4. the mother doesn't become loveable until she is changed into a bear and we laugh at her experiencing true animal instincts and burping.
5. the men were stupid. all of them. big, bumbling, idiots. funny to watch, but the sexism in this movie was just oozing.  having a movie full of large, ugly and idiotic men is just as bad as a movie full of floozy bimbos.
6. the only woman who did what we call "home making" duties (the maid) was unintelligent, flimsy, cowardess and extremely large chested. they have to have boobs somewhere you know, it's kind of required.

 i don't need a movie to end in a "happily ever after" scenario for me to enjoy it and have my children watch it. not true at all. but watching my children being force fed the ides that you can do whatever you want, and especially do what is socially unacceptable or selfish, and still be happy is not true. ok, the girl was not ready to get married. i'm not saying she should have! but having her "having the power to change her fate" was the most misleading lead line i've ever heard. all she did was buy a stupid spell! she didn't "choose" anything. the entire movie was her making up for her selfish and immature decision.

now of course, we have to throw in some mad skills for the girl so she's acceptable. she's got bow hunting skills, horse riding skills, sword fighting skills, rock climbing skills, thinking skills (i hope you said all that with a napoleon dynamite accent). all that happens is she doesn't want to get married! i get it! you really shouldn't if you don't want to. so in the end, they change that a princess/prince can choose a spouse for love instead of obligation, which in my opinion, is a good decision. but in ancient times it really wasn't. you know why they had royals marry royals? because of their ancestry. if you were alive and disease free by age 15, that was pretty amazing. they needed people with strong genes to marry so they could keep the family line going, resist infection, disease and the elements and fight in a war, all in about 15 years.  (not saying a cartoon needs to be historically correct, but you know, whatever)

as a mother of 3 girls, i just have a hard time at what the cartoons are telling them today. the disney movies used to tell them that you had to be beautiful, rich and small waisted to live happily ever after. now they are telling them that you have to be independent, rebellious, stubborn and unique to live happily ever after.  the men are mere pawns in the game, and have no affect on your life whatsoever.  but i believe we were put here for each other (see Genesis).  the woman is naturally a nurturer and the man is naturally a provider. i think the more and more my children listen to society or let disney or pixar tell them what brings happiness, the more unhappy they will end up when the dust clears.

but i also am not raising stupid children (i hope) that will let movies or society tell them what brings happiness. we just watch them for entertainment and most of the time i don't really put a lot of stock into it. because ty and i (try to) talk more to them than the movie does. but brave just rubbed me the wrong way.

does this mean i won't let my girls ever watch it again? heavens no! it's just a movie people! and it was cute and i really liked a lot of it too. ha! surprise!

*ps, all the bare butts in the movie?  all week my girls have been yelling, "feast your eyes!"
  ugh PG.


my name is becky kelly said...

hahaa, you looked into that WAY more than i did. i completely agree with every thing you just said, but i walked away thinking "hmm, yeah, that was a cute movie and i have a belly ache from so much popcorn and sweets"
we went to mesquite to see it for fhe. (we don't support our local theatre) i guess i just hope that, like you said, my kids are getting more life lessons from their parents than from movies, so i don't stress about it. maybe i'm failing, who knows :) (really, i was just relieved that we all made it through the "scary bear" parts we had heard of)

Lyndi said...

I didn't know exactly how to put my finger on what I didn't like about "Brave" but I think you nailed it, Annie. What was "brave" about what any of them did? The only "brave" parts for me, were where Merida stood up against her father in the end because she had made a terrible choice . . .pretty rad swordfight . . . and the part where the Mom's instincts kicked in even though she was a bear, to save Merida from Mordu. I'm ashamed to say it about a Pixar film, but I was a little disappointed. I didn't feel that there was any real merit to the story. I didn't feel edified or uplifted at the end, and I definitely didn't learn anything. Granted, when the queen/bear was saving Merida from the psycho-creepy bear, I teared up and thought "My mom is so cool." But she is! The only time I have ever seen my mom get mad or defensive is when someone has threatened her children. Good job, Mom.

On the other hand, it was gorgeous. The animation was superb, even superior to so much of what I've seen recently. The music was awesome, and the accents were just right (talk about Gaelic?!) I had a good laugh, and I'd probably watch it again, but well, said Annie. Thanks for pointing out to me what it is that has been lurking in the back of my mind for about a week now.

Trent & Tara said...

i thought it was G as well, lame!! I have no desire to see it again, nor for my girls too.

emily said...

I haven't watched it yet, but wasn't sure I wanted to... your review helped me spend a couple of hours doing something else (like reading fun blogs like yours). :)
You brought up some great points as to why this movie rubs you the wrong way--it totally goes against your worldview. And even though it's cute, I do think, based on brain science, that the images and words we see change our brains physically, especially from birth to age seven. So it does matter what we watch, even for entertainment. If I want my worldview/values to be consistent and authentic, I will have to choose entertainment that is in line with it. And that may mean I'm out playing in the sprinkler instead. ;)
Anyway, I've just been studying about it this week in grad school so the connection was there.
Love your blog! Keep writing, you have a great voice.

Sarah said...

I didn't care for it either. The plot was weak and the bear violence was a bit much. My 4 year old neice was pretty scared.
I did not come away feeling like the heroine was really that heroic.

Unknown said...

Not to be the rebel in the group, but I really enjoyed Brave.I don't think that Pixar is sending out a life lesson message in the film, it's just meant to entertain as they have with all of there films. I thought it was a fun movie and am taking my oldest daughter and granddaughter to see it.
I saw it first with my 12, 15, and 18 yr old, and we left laughing and spent the car ride home all talking about our favorite parts of the film and laughing some more. None of my kids walked out with any obscured views on fate being a factor in changing the course of their lives.
We homeschool,(year round) and it promted it a wonderful project on Scottland by my 12 yr old.
I respect all of your opinions, I guess I just didn't get the same message from the movie.
God Bless,
Kim H.

Emily said...

I respectfully disagree. I think the lesson was that -when- you accept your loved ones for who they are and gain a respect and appreciation for your real blessings, that is when you'll be happy. That 'changing your fate' is precisely about the choices you make, and how you deal with the aftermath. Also it was about seeing things from another perspective (both on Merida and the mother's part) and in that way, understanding that being totally selfish is hurtful to others and just plain foolish. Listening to one another, learning to compromise, learning to appreciate and love unconditionally. That was the message I got. :)

Anonymous said...

Hello, I'm Sabrina. I guess I'm a little late to the party here hahaha - Can't believe it's already December! In any case, I wasn't thrilled over Brave myself for the reasons you stated (although I didn't really honestly think about the men being such idiots until you said so. And it's interesting that they think, to have a strong female, they need a weak male. It's the extreme feminism that makes it sexism. It's unfortunate - we are equals.)

Where was I going with this? Oh yes. I also had some criticism regarding the story line as well - I really thought, from all the previews, that Merida was going on some kind of epic journey to change her fate (which, in my mind, was some terrible thing she was being subjected to. This just seemed like a little mother-daughter spat). It was very misleading, I really believed that more was going to happen. I felt that the story got really sidetracked when her mother randomly turned into a bear. You don't need magic for a good movie! If it was just a really good adventure movie, I'd have been thrilled. I agree that the animations were beautiful but the connotations all wrong. At least they didn't make her unimaginably skinny or beautiful - they made her human. That was probably my favorite thing about the film.

Anonymous said...

Brave certainly beats the "girl throws her life away for a boy" theme of most other Disney movies, at least the older ones.

The "witch" was a guide. Wise women have always been seen as witches, as magical, sometimes to their peril. Female power is downright magical; we make soup to cure colds and grow people inside us. Women are freaking amazing!!

I don't like men being portrayed as bumbling idiots. We don't need to tear men down to celebrate our awesomeness!

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