I went to see Disney/Pixar’s latest, “Brave,” and I wanted to take a quick minute to highlight why I thought it was a great kid’s movie, emphasis on the “kid.”
- The heroine is a redhead.
Automatic awesomeness. Enough said.
- It is not a romance.
What is it about movies aimed at a movie-viewing audience with a median age of seven that insists that a romance must be one of the main threads of the plot? These kids are not ready for romance in their actual world: why fill their imaginary world with it? (And what kind of romances are we promoting, anyway??? Let’s look at Disney’s other redheaded heroine: Ariel, in “The Little Mermaid,” runs away from home and then gives up her voice and her identity in order to get the guy. Yikes!)
“Brave,” refreshingly, focuses on the relationship of a daughter to her family, in particular, her mother. Pixar has again created a fun, romance-free, movie driven by a family-harmony based plot & character development. (Others in this category include “Finding Nemo”, “The Incredibles”, “Up”…)
- The heroine’s success is not self-aggrandizing.
Again, in so many kid’s movies, the theme runs roughly along the lines of (1) go against what your parents tell you is good/safe, (2) chase who you are no matter how much trouble/danger this puts your friends in, and (3) assert yourself in order to get your happy ending.” (“The Lion King,” “The Road to El Dorado,” even “Pinocchio.”) This is not only a tedious plot-line, but it is terrible advice for life.
In “Brave,” the heroine’s final triumph does not come from being a brat that wins but rather, her journey is one from relative self-centeredness to valuing others and working for peace.
Now, as an adult and an author, yes, I thought the plot stopped a little short of having a satisfying complexity. However, I was not the target audience. Nor should I have been. So, kudos to Pixar for creating a kid’s movie that really is for kids.
Go see “Brave” yourself and let me know what you think… but please flag spoilers in your comments. 🙂