Monday, 20 August 2012
Brave - The Cartoon Movie
So, have you all taken you daughters to see Brave? Were you horrified?
Did you hear that it was a Girl Power movie about a feisty heroine. Her "old-as-time" love hate relationship with her mother. The problem of what society expected for and of her and how she overcomes it all?
Well it was all of that. But it also sent such a mixed message that I would think twice about showing it to impressionable children who might fall for the codswallop actually portrayed.
I am, as you know, a fan of mindless entertainment. Bring on the senseless violence of Manly Movies, the simpering Chick Flicks, the Cute Cartoons and all the rest. I enjoy them all enormously without judging or caring about silly things like gaps in logic, rational or character development. It is, after all, entertainment. But Brave got me all bent out of shape. The story at best was mildly entertaining and at worst sent a dangerous message.
Our heroine is a beautiful feisty tomboy. Her father , The King is a bit of a dolt, "ask your mother" overgrown Man Boy sort, good ol' guy. Mum is serene and in charge and strong. Her brothers are cute brats. The rest of the cast are predictably one dimensional bla, bla, bla.
Tradition expects a wedding. Our Heroine is not happy, she is cross with her mum. "Why mum?" She might ask. Because she clearly rules the roost darlings. Lovingly and condescendingly.
The prospective beaus arrive. Enter three simpering twerps in three guises. The Arrogant, The Lump of Meat and the Clumsy Klutz.
So far the gals are looking strong and in control and the guy's...... well sorry chaps you are a bunch of losers. Even those of you who aren't losers sort of really are.
The message I got was that our heroine was a typical teen on a sulk (okay with that) she did not want to marry yet, although I got the idea that maybe if one of those beaus had been enough of a "Knight in Shining Armour type" she would have given up her independence in a flash. You know the bit when she meets her prospective grooms... Well our heroine was not shown one man that was not an idiot. If I was presented with a bunch of fools, by my fool of a father and his foolish friends I would also want to be single forever. What dreadful characterisations this film created of men. Another idea that niggled was that - maybe if one of the potential bridegrooms ticked all the right Prince Charming boxes then the arranged marraige would be just fine. Maybe that is why no reasonably attractive fella was on offer? Is it that girls only need Girl Power when there is an absence of Boy Power? Why can't our feisty Princess stand shoulder to shoulder with a feisty Prince or two without having to marry him? If the point is about choosing your destiny and breaking with tradition then that should not be dependent on the quality of the men on offer.
Our heroines relationship with her mother was hackneyed, of course, and hey that is okay for this sort of entertainment.Sadly that combined with the charmingly grim presentation of how utterly hopeless the men in her world are our heroine is doomed to the exact fate as her mother. Ergo, she would absolutely land up marrying some ass to get away from her lovingly controlling mother and perpetuate another generation of women who politely disdain and tolerate men.
That is obviously not what happened in the cartoon but really by the time I had realised with jaw dropping astonishment what sad characterisations are deemed okay for a Girl Power movie I was beyond caring. In any case the plot was pretty weak. I am sure your three and four year olds will love it and no harm done. But if you want your sons to respect girls and your daughters to respect boys don't take children of school going age to see this cartoon unless that child has a sophisticated enough palate for irony.
Having thoroughly slated the movie - the graphics are very good. But the overall prettiness and easy story do not overcome my discomfort. And really I am not often niggled by the "message" in a movie. I take them at face value generally.
Bryan watched the movie too. He was not bothered.