Between The Hunger Games and Brave, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been practicing a lot of archery on my Wii. I’ll also admit that I am excited that Pixar is finally making a movie with a female lead. But, as Peggy Orenstein has already pointed out, that shouldn’t be a big deal. In all their success, it’s a bit late for this to be their first heroine. “But what about all the other female characters, you ask? Read this.
Anyway, I am looking forward to watching Brave when it comes out on June 22nd, but until I actually see the movie they’ve made, I’m not congratulating anyone yet. Given that the main character is a princess, that Pixar has yet to really create an empowering female character, and that it’s still pretty unclear what the full story is about, Brave could seriously fail to live up to the hopes so many have for the film.
Tonight I went to the movies and saw a new trailer for the film:
The clip leaves me with a few questions:
1) Seriously. What is the blue thing? What the heck is going to happen after that archery contest? Princess Merida wins her own hand in marriage and then what? This?
2) Do we have to have literal magic? Couldn’t the magic be something like courage or resilience or intelligence or love? I repeat, what is the blue thing? I really hope that the magic element does not undercut the power of Merida herself. Wouldn’t it be better if she can achieve whatever this story is about without supernatural help? Couldn’t she and her family and friends be enough?
3) Speaking of, this is my biggest question: how will the film handle kinship? Clearly they’re going to emphasize Scottish culture and the importance of family. With this context, to stay true to cultural history, while still creating an empowering female lead would be no small feat. Kinship as a basis of civilization has historically leaned on the trading of women through marriage to cement bonds between clans or kingdoms or whatever. That element obviously comes through in the trailer, but when the princess bucks the system what will the film do then? I’m assuming they will err on the side of modernity. It might be more interesting if they didn’t, especially given all the contemporary campaigns to end child marriage, but given that it’s a children’s movie, I’m guessing they will find a happy ending.
There’s also this one that is goofy but could suggest/mock the association between girls’ films and fashion merchandising:
Mostly just silly, though. And don’t lie, if you’re cool you totally thought of Lennon Parham’s Braveheart impression on BFF. #saveBFF
Also, a tidbit: Kelly Macdonald who voices Princess Merida played Helena Ravenclaw in Harry Potter. Now you know.