Monday, July 9, 2012

Brave (2012): Mormon Movie Review

  Guest Post from the Mormon Movie Guy.  He writes a great blog similar to ours reviewing movies from a Latter-day Saint Perspective. The review was written by him, but the star ratings were applied based on my interpretation of his review.

 There is only one thing that keeps Brave, the new film from Disney-Pixar, from being a "grade-A" movie: it copies its main narrative device wholesale from another recent Disney movie (click here only if you want to know). This lack of originality distracts from Brave's quality and bogs down its second act a bit, but the film is ultimately redeemed by taking its cue from that other film and doing it better, with stunning animation, a gorgeous musical score, excellent characters, rough-and-tumble Scottish humor, and an undeniably powerful emotional core (I'm not ashamed to say that I teared up towards the end). 

With Merida, the strong-willed tomboy princess, Pixar has finally given us a female lead character (as I displayed in my master's thesis, they've portrayed women well, but females have never been front and center), and she was worth the wait. As voiced by actress Kelly Macdonald, she's a fiesty firecracker with a very satisfying character arch. All of the vocal work is superb, in fact, especially by Billy Connoly and Emma Thompson as Merida's royal parents. Though this is essentially a mother-daughter story (a surprising rarity in animated films), there are plenty of amusing male characters for boys and fathers to relate to.Brave's got fun and heart for the whole family, more than enough to make up for its overly-familiar story.

 Disney-Pixar's Brave is rated PG. It contains some fairly intense scenes of peril that could frighten children, comedic brawling and fisticuffs, and humorous animated rear nudity of adult males and toddlers. A heavyset female character is portrayed with ample cleavage, again for comedic effect.

MESSAGES TO DISCUSS: "Mothers, take time to be a real friend to your children. Listen to your children, really listen. Talk with them, laugh and joke with them, sing with them, play with them, cry with them, hug them, honestly praise them" (President Ezra Taft Benson). "Arguments, fights...generation gaps...all fall into this category of pride. Contention in our families drives the Spirit of the Lord away. It also drives many of our family members away...Pride adversely affects all our relationships...God will have a humble people. We can either choose to be humble or we can be compelled to be humble...Let us choose to be humble. We can choose to humble ourselves by conquering emnity between ourselves and our brothers and sisters, esteeming them as ourselves, and lifting them as high or higher than we are. We can choose to humble ourselves by receiving counsel and chastisement. We can choose to humble ourselves by forgiving those who have offended us" (President Ezra Taft Benson, "Beware of Pride"). 

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