It’s no secret that I love Disney. I was born and raised in Florida, just under two hours from the parks and I love the toys, the TV channel and the movies. I’m a huge fan. That said, sometimes even a huge fan has to make some hard choices for the sake of her children. So when I knew I had to be brave to write my Brave movie review, I took a deep breath and went for it.
What I am about to say is not popular opinion. And I almost hesitate to share it. But as a mother with young children (boys at that), I want to share my honest opinion about Brave. And the truth is, I did not love the latest Disney/Pixar movie.
I am about to share some major spoilers for the movie so if you don’t want to be spoiled, please feel free to click away from this post and read about all the things I DO love about Disney here and here or here.
For the rest of us, let’s get down to it.
Disney/Pixar’s Brave Movie Review
Here is the official BRAVE synopsis:
“Brave” follows the heroic journey of Merida, a skilled archer and headstrong daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the unruly and uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric Witch (voice of Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to harness all of her skills and resources – including her clever and mischievous triplet brothers – to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late, discovering the meaning of true bravery.
Honest Brave Movie Review
Let me first address the fact that this movie is rated PG. It never even occurred to me to check the rating because with the exception of The Incredibles and UP, every Pixar movie made since 1995 has been G rated. Thankfully, because our screening was at night, my husband and I decided to leave our (3.5 year old and almost 1 year old) boys at home.
So I will start with the obvious. Because of its well-deserved PG rating (link includes spoilers), I do not recommend this movie for children under age 8. It is my opinion that the story was significantly more mature than prior Pixar movies (such as Toy Story) and there were several intensely frightening scenes including vicious fights between man and beast (ie. a giant blood-thirsty bear).
Mature Fight Scenes
There were a few moments in the fight scenes that really stood out to me. One fight in particular is between two bears. In the climax of their battle, several seconds are spent in close up of one bear slamming the other into a large rock repeatedly, violently, graphically. It was not a flash in the pan arrow to the leg, or even a flying bullet. It was up-close, physical violence. I don’t care that there was a good reason for the fight. It disturbed me.
There is no doubt that Merida and her mother both had lessons to learn. And while I appreciated the relational struggle between mother and daughter, it seemed more appropriate for the tween crowd rather than the typical Pixar audience which tends to be of the elementary set, if not younger. I can definitely see how this movie could prompt some really thought provoking conversations between moms and daughters, but for the young ones I don’t think it would even make sense.
I am glad there was a two-parent home featured in this movie. However, I was greatly disturbed at the depiction of Merida’s bumbling, goofball father whose only purpose seemed to be comic relief or brute force – a male stereotype that has been increasingly present in mainstream media in the past couple of decades.
Believe me when I say that I truly loved the empowering female lead characters in both Merida and Queen Elinor. But why did they have to come at the expense of the male characters? As the mother of two boys, I want to encourage them to be leaders, to be companions of the women in their lives. But from the idiot-fathers to the dimwitted princes (none of whom were even remotely desirable), to the trouble-making triplets, there is not a single male character in this movie that I would want my sons to emulate. Not a single one.
And I think that is why my overall opinion of this movie is just not good. I was viewing it through the eyes of my boys. My sons who will one day grow to be men. And just like we need more movies to inspire our women, we should not just allow the pendulum to swing the other way. We are setting the bar for the future of both our sons and our daughters. Why are we aiming so low?
I wish I could base my opinion on the design because Brave was a spectacular visual feast. The animation was positively breathtaking and even thrilling at times. But I am sad to say that it will not be a family classic in this house.
For more opinions of Brave from both sides, please check out the following links:
Shanamama – Disney’s Brave review
Rage Against the Minivan – BRAVE: A Parent’s Guide to Disney/Pixar’s new Movie
Musings from Me – A Lady Does-ny Stuff Her Gob! #Brave
Better in Bulk – Disney/Pixar’s BRAVE Movie Review #BraveCarsLandEvent
Have you seen Brave yet? Let’s talk!
I received free passes to attend an advanced screening of Brave. All thoughts are my own.