Saturday, 18 August 2012

Disney Pixar's Brave: Every little girl is a princess

I was never a girly girl as a nipper.  I hated clothes shopping - it was my idea of hell.  I remember clearly being at primary school and being surrounded by my ten year old class mates discussing their outfits for the school disco and being utterly bored by the conversation.  I also remember my classmates eyes bulging when I loudly announced that "I don't like fashion."  I seem to remember that beige was the hot colour of the time... I mean, who actually likes wearing beige?!

But that didn't stop me dreaming of life as a princess.  One of my earliest memories is reenacting the plot of Little Mermaid in the playground, and although I never landed the role of Ariel (my best friend had the longest hair, so she always took the lead - I always ended up portraying a random royal mermaid sister, or more usually best-fish-friend Flounder), I always dreamt of life as a Disney Princess.

Whether it be nose-in-a-book Belle, feisty Jasmine, or graceful Aurora, there is always something accessible about Disney's female protagonists, and their newest Princess, red-headed Merida, is no exception.

Brave follows Merida as she strives to live a life independent of her royal obligations.  Like Aladdin's Jasmine, she shuns them, wanting to experience more from life, but unlike Jasmine is more than capable of handling herself outside the palace walls.  With bow in hand, and wild hair streaming off her face Merida feels ready to take on the world and certainly doesn't need a smooth-talking street-rate to come to her rescue.  Merida definitely represents a very different Disney Princess.  She strong woman, who is prepared to fight for what she wants.

I know there will be a lot of discussion about how wonderful it is for young girls to see independent female characters in film, but that's only part of the magic.  The film is beautifully put together, funny, moving, at times fantastical, but at the same time grounded in something completely understandable - the newest Disney Pixar film is all about the quest for love and understanding - in the form of a future spouse, but also from family.

Both Hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed the film, and I left the cinema feeling full of energy and wondering where I could learn archery...  It reminded me of Sunday afternoons climbing trees, making forts in hedges and coming in covered in mud after slipping up in a cowpat.  Brave is a really refreshing film, that made me remember just how magical Independence and exploration is. I really do hope we do see young girls (and boys) grabbing toy bows and letting their hair fly free.

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