Watch and Be Brave

Walt Disney Brave Merida
photo source: dailyrecord.co.uk

*uber late post

Three words to describe Disney’s animated film, Brave:

Cute

Funny

Touching

One word to describe:

Brave

The title itself describes on how the latest animated film of Disney deviates from classic Disney films. Disney innovates not only its technology, but also its characters and stories. Brave shows that Disney broadens the audience’s view of character roles.  Merida, the female protagonist, is not vulnerable like Snow White, not helpless like Princess Aurora, not graceful like Princess Jasmine, not too kind and submissive like Cinderella. Merida, is not only aggressive, strong, and willful but she is also a problem-solver and independent and that makes her different from Ariel and Belle.

The film breaks away from conventions that we usually see in other fairy tale films of Disney. There is a witch but there is no clear villain. There is no true love’s kiss. There is no handsome prince to save a meek princess. The film centers on Merida alone.  She created her own problem but eventually learned to find her way out.

In comparison with our favorite princesses who end up tying a knot with their love interest, Merida fights for independence unlike other princesses. Female independence is not a common theme in animated films. Ariel fought for her dream to be Part of that World but it wasn’t exactly independence. She left her ocean family to be with her dream man. Note that she lost her identity by trading her fins with feet. On the other hand, Merida voices out her desire to follow her heart,  to  find love in the right time which unfortunately her mother could not agree. Merida’s fulfillment does not rely on the arms of a man but basically, she pleads for freewill.

The princess does not wear fancy glass slippers nor walk like Kate Middleton. She lets her hair dance with the wind. She moves like Rapunzel of Tangled and perhaps Tiger of Winnie the Pooh, playful and bouncing all the time. She runs swiftly, climbs the hills, laughs hard.

If you try to look for underlying theme of Brave, there is a question of women empowerment. In a poor mindset, women are oppressed when men oppress them. In the film, a woman is oppressed by another woman. It was not a male figure who was trying to cage Merida. The prince and her father seemed to be negotiable.  In the beginning, the mother  controlled the life of her daughter by arranging her daughter’s marriage and by teaching her the basics of being a princess. Another thought to ponder; “If a woman says she believes in welfare of  her fellow women, if a woman wants to preach women empowerment, but hinders the growth of another woman’s personhood or curtails her right, can we say it is not women empowerment at all?”

Female audience find it funny that the male characters are portrayed weak. In archery, Merida excelled among her suitors. With the relationship of the king and wife, the wife appeared more dominant strict, stern, and decisive.

Like all Disney movies, it has a happy ending. But unlike other happy endings, it concludes with  a familial bond which all ages can relate upon. Merida gets what she wants without dishonoring her parents.  The film conveys a message that one’s family is  as important as one’s freedom. Children should learn  fairy tales don’t have to end with royal weddings.