"I was so excited for Brave from the promotional materials. Yay, badass princess on a horse! Yay, badass princess with a bow and arrow! Yay, badass princess who doesn’t get with a dude! It was marketed as an adventure, and instead we got SAPPY MOTHER-DAUGHTER BONDING. Which is fine, but I don’t care about sappy mother-daughter bonding. I wanted a princess kicking ass, and instead I got a whiny brat. I’ve never been more disappointed in a Disney or Pixar film"
Trailers lie. Get over it.
While Brave wasn’t what many expected, it was still valuable. We get Pixar’s first female protagonist: a company that prioritizes story and character has prioritized toys, fish, and robots before a woman. We get a mother-daughter bonding story which is rare in mainstream media as well as animation. We don’t get many narratives where women’s relationships are seen as valuable; the “sappy” mother-daughter bonding is nothing to scoff at. Not to mention it being a narrative where the main character has to take responsibility for their poor decisions as well as having to live up to their responsibilities.
Now, Brave is nowhere near perfect; it’s got its narrative problems as well as having some missed opportunities. But just because you don’t see the value in it doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth watching.
My main problem with Brave’s trailer vs. movie wasn’t the mother-daughter bond, it was the COMPLETE butchering of the tone that it was trying to market. The first few teasers and trailers were showing this mystical, mysterious world full of adventure and magic and (at least I was expecting) possibly dark themes that Pixar can pull off, cause the’ve done it before. Instead, the majority of the movie was silly and fast-paces with a plot that way threadbare and depended on Merida’s absolute stupidity (“I want to change my mom” being the vaguest, most easy-to-interpret phrase she could have possibly said, and everyone in the audience knew that fixing the tapestry was not how the spell was going to break). They tried to include dark, mysterious scenes but they didn’t fit in at all with the movie as a whole, and the “villain” (Mor’du) was….just a bear. No motivation, he just showed up all angry and scary when the climax demanded it.
Basically, my problem is not with the relationships between the characters, but the fact that we could have had a fantasy epic that instead turned into a mess of a movie with no consistency or plot strength. I could go on for a long, long time about how disappointed I was with Brave.
Like I said before, trailers lie. I could tell watching the trailer and clips that they were hiding a lot of the actual story and I can see why. Had they tried to market this movie on the mother-daughter, do you honestly think that people would have gone to see this? Female narratives are very pigeonholed and are given unfair bias by the public. I honestly don’t blame them for manipulating the audience with the trailer they made.
Mor’du isn’t just a bear: several times in the film he serves as Merida’s lesson of why she must change. In the first instance, it’s when Elinor tries to use the story of the ambitious son to teach Merida why duty and responsibility is important. Now, I will agree that Mor’du is more of a MacGuffin rather than a full-fledged villain, but his presence still serves a purpose in the story other than just being scary.
I would ultimately blame Brave’s narrative problems on a lot of the behind-the-scenes drama. Brenda Chapman, the original director and creator of the movie was removed from the production as it’s director over creative disputes. The story really feels like it went through a couple hands before its completion. As I stated before, while Brave was not what we expected, but we still got some valuable things out of it.
I wasn’t really disagreeing with you necessarily, I was just adding my own opinion on my I was disappointed. Personally I think the female relationship/female centric plot was a great aspect to the story. I think they COULD have made a great film with that relationship still being centric to the story. But the story didn’t even know what to do with itself.
And yeah Mor’du was a lesson of why Merida should change but as a plot device he was terrible. He just…shows up, out of nowhere and just rampages everyone and tries to kill everything, just in time for the story to wrap itself up. Good plots are character driven, that’s like the number one thing that makes a story, and the climax was basically just….an angry bear (with the whole mother/daughter/bear sadness tied in after the fight is over). I’m not saying he serves no purpose in the story, he’s just a very weak plot point with very little explanation.
And yes, I understand that trailers lie. That doesn’t mean I can’t be upset about it. There’s a difference between selecting choice, maybe slightly inaccurate parts of a movie to make it seem more fun/serious/whatever; and just completely misrepresenting the tone and themes of the movie. Although, I’m thinking more of the teasers, you know the ones with the wisps and where she’s firing an arrow at Mor’du, alone at night (which in the movie she BARELY uses after her cool slow-mo dress ripping scene). The actual full length trailers were more accurate but still didn’t show anything of what the plot was about.
But yeah I totally agree with you, I think when they booted Brenda Chapman out of production, the whole project was botched - I feel like it was closer to the movie that I wanted it to be, but Disney stepped in and tried to make it more marketable and kid friendly, so the plot just got lost in the whole thing.