Sunday 24 June 2012

"If you had a chance to change your fate, would you?"

         One of my dream wacky jobs is to wait tables at the cafeterias of Pixar since I'm not actually smart enough to "work" work there, but I'll get to be around pure geniuses and I'm also pretty convinced that I'll get to wear Pixar character costumes as part of my job. So from this one can deduce the following- 1) that I am, in fact, a crazy person, 2) that film and television has romanticized waitresses wayy too much, and finally and most importantly 3) that I love Pixar to death.

         I have watched all the Pixar movies except Cars 2, because I don't want to ruin my perfect idea of Pixar. Okay I did fall asleep while watching Cars, but still. The other ten films have been amazing. Yes, some more than others, but all are brilliant and heartfelt in their own ways. So ever since the first news about their new film, Brave, was released, I have been going nuts with excitement. I finally saw it yesterday, first day first show, and have been pleasantly rewarded.

           Brave is about a free-spirited and tomboy-ish Scottish princess, Merida, who wants desperately to change her destiny of being a well-mannered and lady-like queen, like her mother Elinor. When suitors from the various clans come for her hand in marriage, Merida defies all the traditions and takes drastic steps to so that she can change the mind of her mother, but something goes terribly wrong and it's up to Merida to save her family, and the day.

           Now this synopsis is based on all the trailers so far. In the movie, the relationship between Merida and Elinor plays a huge role, but I don't want to ruin anything. Pixar has its own brand of the unexpected and new. While the whole tomboy rebellious princess thing isn't very novel, the way the movie handles it was. I truly feel that in terms of heart, Pixar movies are second to none, and Brave taps into this wonderfully complex and dynamic and beautiful bond between a mother and daughter and circles everything around it. Like when everyone kept comparing this to a Dreamworks animated feature, the film nerd in me wanted to clarify that the core difference between it and a Pixar feature is that the former is about great, magical adventures and the latter is about finding the extraordinary in the ordinary, and Brave will be no different. I was wrong. Brave is an adventure story- yes; it is about something relatively common like the relationship between a mother and her child- yes, but then that isn't something ordinary. It is among the most incredible things in the world! The fact that it takes something as extraordinary as that, and then makes the film about it, and not just rebelling and fighting and kilts and magic- that is why it wins for me. True it isn't as original as Ratatouille or Finding Nemo, or as impactful as Toy Story 3, but heart is heart, and Brave has loads of it. And I loved it for it.

            Speaking of love, Merida is the red-haired queen of my heart. I have been going crazy about her ever since the first concept art pictures were released. Her hair is a work of art. I recently wrote about the critical eye versus eye candy, and god, I love this film for her hair alone! But then again, she is super awesome even without it. I have written about my Disney-loving best friend many times on this blog, and she had a whole argument with me about how Merida isn't a Disney princess. My best friend is right- Merida is not one because she doesn't sing and doesn't have a prince, but who cares?! She is perfect the way she is. She is exquisite and feisty and funny and caring and independent. Right from the beginning her curiosity and joy entices us to fall in love with her, and as we see her grow up and be rebellious and make mistakes, but then change too, we are very much with her till the end. And beyond. Princes Merida is already a legend, being the first female protagonist in a Pixar film ever. Also as luck would have it, this is the year of Katniss Everdeen as well, and between the two of them, we have the beginnings of a new era of female heroes. Kelly Macdonald did a fantastic job of voicing Merida.

          I loved everyone else too. Emma Thompson voiced Queen Elinor, and she was at the other end of the spectrum of strong women. I mean yes she isn't adept with bows and arrows, but she is one respected and fierce lady. Billy Connoly was King Fergus and he was very funny, especially when he mimics Merida. Kevin McKidd, Robbie Coltrane and Craig Ferguson (!) voiced the various clan leaders, who were hilarious. Julie Walters voiced the Witch. My absolute favourites were Merida's three younger brothers Harris, Hubert and Hamish, who were just adorable.

          The story was by Brenda Chapman, who was also the co-director, along with Mark Andrews. She's the first woman director in Pixar's history so far, and she did an splendid job. The film looked absolutely gorgeous. The Scottish backdrop was rich with colour and details, everything brought more to life by Merida's hair (I'm sorry- I can't stop gushing about it!). The music was superb- very Celtic and appropriate. It just added so much to the feel of a film like this. The film was also really humorous, thanks to the mostly brilliant gags of the genius triplets.

          If I had to talk about any flaws, it would be the decision of showing the totally stunning La Luna before the movie, because that just drips with pure Pixar magic! I mean I was in tears before Brave even started. Brave is definitely less brilliant, but with a fiery-haired and fiery-hearted heroine for the ages and an excellent emotional story, it is definitely a return to form for Pixar and a really lovely experience.

          Go watch it :D


  1. You do know all you need to do to work at Pixar is find a creepy old lady that carves wooden bear merchandises to give you a magic potion, don't you? Anyway, despite not being mesmerised, this is still one of my most enjoyable trips to the cinema in the past couple of months.

    1. Yeah me and woods don't get along. Also I don't fancy being a bear :P

      Yes it was a very enjoyable trip to the cinema for me too :)

  2. Well you've certainly got me excited for La Luna!

  3. Haha, Ryan (from The Matinee) mentioned your want to wait tables at the Pixar studios. Nice. I wanna do that too.

    I totally love this review. And I agree about La Luna, too. My friends and I were buzzing about it. And now I can't stop looking at the moon. It was so awesome!

    1. Oh yeah, I've been talking about this everywhere, in the hopes that maybe Pixar sees this somehow. It is one of my better dream wacky jobs.

      Thanks! La Luna was amazing. Really want to rewatch that.

  4. Just for the record, being crazy is awesome.

    The first female protagonist from Pixar... that's a wonderful observation that I haven't thought of. I hope that's a new era indeed. I don't want to sound feminist, but recently it has been bothering me: there are no female villains, no female superheroes (The Avengers made me think of it). Of course, there are more female protagonists, but we need even more. That's my say.

    Brave was very good and Merida hairstyle... I want it for me.

    1. Yes it is!

      This bothers me as well.

      Oooo me too!!