Sometimes it seems that Disney invented Princesses. From Snow White and Cinderella, through Sleeping Beauty right up to Jasmine, Ariel and the one I haven’t met in “The Princess and the Frog”, Disney have been selling dreams of dresses and wonderful weddings to little girls for generations.
Wait, did that sound a little negative?
See, there’s a lot of debate about image these days. What’s a good role model for your little girl to look up to? Did Snow White escape a tyrannical stepmother, or just take a part-time job as a housekeeper until her mealticket showed up? And Sleeping Beauty? What was her contribution to the relationship again? Male, Prince, looking for someone…er..unconscious?
And now here we are with Disney Pixar and they’re doing what they do best, building gripping stories with interesting characters. It’s become a cliche that the first few minutes of “Up” are a better love story than most other full-length movies, so what have Pixar got left to tell us?
I took the two Tiniest Weasels along to see “Brave”. They have more than a little in common with Merida. Both have taken karate classes, are fair shots and not afraid of getting their hands dirty, and they were excited about the film. They’d seen trailers and heard about it from friends. I hoped Tiny Weasel wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the climax of the movie, which I’d heard was pretty intense. But my weasels are tough, right?
Right. The film is beautiful. It makes Scotland look fantastic – wild, mythic…SUNNY! We’ve been to Scotland. It was a wonderful experience, I loved it, but it rained. Biblical rain. And did I mention midges? I digress…
I don’t think anyone’s pretending that “Brave” is a historical documentary, which is why I had to ask Middle Weasel to wait until after the movie for my explanation as to why the carvings showed the same Celtic Knotwork she’d seen in Dublin. It’s got plenty of comedy, broad enough to reduce both weasels to helpless giggles, and crude enough at times to make the young girl behind us say “Ewww! that’s GROSS!” (Which is another cliche I thought people didn’t actually use. Live and learn.) But when the excitement turned to tension and drama, Tiny Weasel climbed across the seats and into my lap. She knew there would be a happy ending, but getting there was really scaring her. Middle Weasel was together enough to follow the action and offer some words of comfort. Or poke fun at her, I couldn’t really hear.
So what message did they take home from the movie? I honestly have no idea, they’d had fizzy drinks and sweets, they were talking so fast and with such bad Scottish accents they made no sense. But what I hope they saw was something like what I saw. A young woman having to see things from her parent’s perspective, having to find a way to help her parents hear HER voice too. Understanding that she has to make her place in the world, not just complain about the choices made for her.
Looking forward to adding this one to our library. Merida is our kind of princess.