I am a huge fan of Disney movies, but I especially (guiltily) love the princesses. Now, understand, that I teach a unit on bias to my students using clips from these very films, but just because I can see the animated stereotyping doesn't mean I can't take childish pleasure in stories of beauty and love.
But Brave, the newest release from Disney/Pixar, is a different kind of tale. What makes Disney's newest princess flick so awesome?
1. Appearances. Okay, so she's still stereotypically beautiful, but she doesn't appear to bathe very often, or take much care with her looks, and her beauty is of the ragged, unkempt variety. Hooray for a princess who isn't perfectly coiffed all the time!
2. The witch. Without giving any spoilers, I will say this: Disney finally created a witch who is tricky, but not an actual villain. How refreshing that she doesn't need to be vanquished!
3. The love story. This movie may seem like it will revolve around a romance, but the love story at the heart of the film is actually about the mother-daughter bond. And while I'm thinking about it...
4. The family relationships. For the first time since Lilo and Stitch, the animated family feels genuine to me. Flawed, yes, and raucous, but the love between the king and queen looks more like a real love story than a fairy tale, and the interplay between the children and their parents rings true.
5. Merida. She rides a big horse, shoots a bow and arrow like Robbin Hood, and is a petulant teenaged girl with mommy issues. She also longs to believe in magic. She's someone who girls can really look up to, someone with goals and flaws, but most importantly, she shows true character growth over the course of the movie. Finally, a princess I don't feel guilty for loving!
6. Animation. As always, they hit this one out of the park: close to two hours of luscious scenery and well-crafted locations. Bravo!
As if that wasn't enough, the cast sparkles. Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, and Craig Ferguson lend their voices to this film, not to mention countless other great performers.
So what are you waiting for? If you haven't seen Brave yet, I recommend that you catch it before it leaves theaters. Totally worth the big-screen experience!
Who's your favorite Disney character? Which movies from childhood have lingered on your list of favorites?