UPDATE: My opinions have evolved, and I tackle this in a newer post. I still think it was a bad idea that Pixar’s first heroine should have been a princess instead of a more relatable girl. I edited my two most offensive sentences in this post, and left the rest.
For a movie titled “Brave” Pixar are behaving like cowards. I knew it the moment Princess Merida rode her horse out of her castle. A character song. A musical cue. Suddenly I wasn’t watching a Pixar movie, I was watching Mulan or Pocahontas. The very thought of another Disney princess is bad enough, but to have Disney defile my favorite studio makes me want to, in the words of J.K. Rowling, vomit into my cereal.
The movie, of course, is artistically brilliant. But then again, most animated movies are like that now. But the story is a cardboard cutout and rehash of every Disney princess storyline; that’s rather cynical of them. Goodbye Pixar. Goodbye Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs would play Pixar movies in his living room over and over with the Pixar directors. I have a very hard time imagining him sitting through Brave without having a profanity-laced tantrum.
I can imagine Disney producers sitting through the early drafts of Brave saying, “What?! No character songs?! No princesses?!” and a cowardly director giving in to the Disney musical/princess-flick fixation.
Just imagine for a moment how much more interesting the story would have been if Merida were NOT a princess, but a commoner. Imagine if her suitors weren’t comically inept, but actual, full-fledged characters with ambitions and personalities. Remember the characters in A Bug’s Life? Toy Story? Ratatouille, why even Cars!
Imagine how agonizing it would be for her to choose among worthy suitors? Imagine how brave it would be if she rejected all of them! The movie title is a mockery, a cynical contempt of the audience! Pixar is a victim of its own success. Scratch that. Pixar is a victim of Disney’s wholesale sell out of art and beauty.
Image by Jeff Krause