A Look Back: Brave

Brave-Merida

I’m revisiting almost all of the Disney Princesses, and I’m sort of just jumping around right now. I’m tapping into my inner Celt and looking at Brave. I may not need to put this on here, but just in case… *** WARNING: THERE WILL BE SOME SPOILERS. SO, IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE MOVIE AND PLAN ON WATCHING, PLEASE STOP READING. THANK YOU. ***

Everyone talks about Merida and how awesome she is, and I do agree that she’s one of the stronger – if not, strongest – of the Disney Princesses, but I – as usual – want to look at the characters that are in the background of Merida’s story.

I’ll save my favorite for last. One aspect of this movie that I adored is the way the story is very much familiar for most families.

  1. Mother-Daughter arguments: Yep. That sounds really familiar. *laughs*
  2. Younger siblings who get away with nearly everything: I may not have siblings, but I have cousins and friends who have told me stories.
  3. Oldest child has to bear the “family legacy”: I’m an only child, but I’m also the oldest paternal grandchild. I broke the “We’re a medical family” legacy by choosing to go down my English Literature path. It was just a bit much to absorb and face the question that my dad had to face as a college student, and I didn’t want to deal. (“Are you as brilliant as the old man?” in reference to my great grandfather)
  4. The fun, loving father and the protective, (sometimes) overbearing mother: I will say it. I had a strict mom, but my dad was too. I still had fun with both parents though.

 

Next stop: The witch… WOOD CARVER! *laughs* I bet most of you have read the theory about the witch in Brave actually being Boo (aka Mary) from Monsters Inc. If you haven’t, it goes something like this:

Boo remembers everything about the “monsters in the closet”, and she was obsessed with finding “Kitty” (Sully). She somehow figures out how to use the doors as port keys to time traveling backwards in time, but she can’t seem to sort out how to jump forward in time, and she’s stuck in the era of Brave. She carves bears because that’s the closest thing she’s got when remembering Sully.

I can see how this theory came about, but I just can’t see Boo turning into this nut of a witch… WOOD CARVER! When I look at the … Wood Carver lady, I actually think about the plump witch from Spirited Away. Don’t believe me? Take a look:

Do you see it? Do you see it? No…? Let’s do a side-by-side comparison.

Brave Witch

Spirited Away Witch

  • The Nose
  • The Mouth
  • The Earring(s)
  • The Up-do hairstyle

 

 

 

You probably need a few more moments to do the comparison, but I’d like to move on.


 

There is a story of husband-wife that underlies Merida’s story, and I think it’s an endearing tale. Fergus and Elinor are complete opposites, who were “forced to” wed through an arranged marriage set by their parents. Traditions… they could be good, they could be bad, but they always lead to a lesson learned. Fergus – a chunk of a fellow he is – is strong, playful (to a certain level of fault), and a wee bit too easy-going for a clan/tribal chief. This is why Elinor’s meticulousness, sternness, and seemingly way too up-tightness is a perfect match. She keeps him in line, as he’s able to break her seriousness (at times).

Elinor’s willing to do everything and anything to keep tradition alive and strong, but at the same time, she understands that Merida is as free-spirited as Fergus, and you can see the utmost concern and a hint of “She’ll be okay on her own, right?” in her early in the movie. It wasn’t until she was turned into a bear that she completely comprehends just how smart and skilled Merida really is. You could say that the saying “let the little birds learn to fly on their own wings” really played out in this movie, but with Elinor being an involuntary witness to the whole thing. I do love how protective she is in human and bear form. A Mother’s instinct… *sighs*

Back to Fergus and Elinor’s love story though. I’m sure you noticed the rage in him when he discovered Elinor missing and her room all tore up. His rage was mixed with fear and absolute dread. There is a small part near the end of the movie, the scene where the men had Elinor (bear form) bound in ropes, and Fergus was about to bring his sword down, that many people don’t catch. What did I see? I saw a second’s worth of hesitation. It was as if he recognized something in the bear to be Elinor. I can’t really explain it, and it’s extremely hard for me to go frame by frame to find the expression, but I promise. It’s there, and it’s as if Fergus saw his wife in the bear, and the hesitation made me think, “If he had noticed something, what would he have done?” It’s an extremist plot twist to ask that question, but it really makes you think about just how deep their love is.


 

Cutting that discussion short, as there’s just to much one can talk about before really going into conspiracy theories and changing the story. So, last bit I want to look at in regards to Brave. The triplets are my favorite part in this movie. Maybe I just have a thing for the number three; I don’t know, but I adore those three little brats. I think it’s hilarious how none of the children have Elinor’s hair or eyes, and they all have personalities like Fergus.

Harris, Hubert, and Hamish are the comic relief and most loyal of the characters. Even in bear form, the three brothers recognized their mother, and when they themselves were in bear form, they remained helpful (with bribery and payment) to Merida. I have to applaud the creators of the movie when it comes to the triplets. They made the boys young enough to not really talk but old enough to be able to comprehend. How many toddlers can actually do all that? None that I can think of, but hey! Movie magic, right?

Like in most movies, the number three plays its part in Brave, and it’s most prevalent with the help of the triplets. Laughs are bountiful, adorableness is eminent, and chaos is definitely a given. If you just watch the scenes with boys, you’d wish that Disney-Pixar would do a movie about the boys (and perhaps the minions). Let fun chaos reign! How are these boys not fat from stealing sweets? I will never know.


 

Overall, I give Brave:

movie clappermovie clappermovie clappermovie clappermovie clapper

5 out of 5 clappers

(a) Great coming-of-age story
(b) Relateable family situation
(c) Use of magic
(d) Strong female lead
(e) Wonderful supporting cast (I’m talking about the triplets!)

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