Review: Pixar does away with gender stereotypes in their most recent film

Michael Bragg

Editor’s Note: The following represents the opinions of the author.

This summer, Disney and Pixar Animation Studios released “Brave,” a film about a young girl’s search for independence and individuality.

Set in Scotland during the middle ages, the film’s heroine — a fiery red-haired girl named Merida — must cope with the expectations her family and kingdom have for her.

Merida, voiced by Scottish actress Kelly MacDonald, would rather practice archery and explore the surrounding forests than fulfill her duties as a princess and future queen. Real problems arise when she is forced to marry one of three buffoonish princes.

Against her mother’s wishes, she decides to break tradition and deny betrothal to all of her suitors. Her actions lead to a heated argument between her and her mother, and later to deal with a deceptive witch.

Similar to other movies released by Pixar, the overall feeling of the movie is playful and lighthearted, but “Brave” tackles the issues of domestic relationships with seriousness and relatability.

The movie hosts a wonderful ensemble of characters ranging from the three rowdy lords, MacGuffin, Macintosh and Dingwall, to Medira’s mischievous and sweet-toothed little brothers. Merida’s father, the king of the land, is a Captain Ahab type character who seeks revenge on the demon-bear, Mordu, who took his leg. However, unlike Ahab, Fergus the king is more silly than insane.

The trailers and promotional items leading up to the movie’s release set the bar high for this most recent Pixar film.

But it seems to have fallen just short of the hype.

Although it isn’t Pixar’s greatest movie so far, it isn’t at all a bad movie. At its worst, “Brave” is still pleasantly entertaining.

Visually, the movie is phenomenal. Viewers should expect nothing less from an animation powerhouse like Pixar.

The writing is the movie’s real flaw, though.

It spends about half of movie’s length in exposition and in preparation for its main conflict.

One of the most redeeming qualities of this film is the fact that Disney and Pixar has finally released a movie in which the princess doesn’t find love.

In fact, she isn’t even looking for it.

It’s safe to say that Merida is the beginning in a line of independent “anti-princesses” who stands up against social conventions and gender stereotypes.

Viewers haven’t seen a strong female character in a Disney animated film since “Mulan,” perhaps.

“Brave” takes the concept a step further by leaving Merida happy and fulfilled in her independence and in the love of her family.

“Brave” is feel-good film and will play in I.G. Greer through APPS’ SuperCinema Thursday through Saturday at 7 and 9:30 p.m. for $1.

Rating: Three out of four stars

Story: CONNOR CHILDERS, A&E Reporter