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Bear Time

Pixar Dishes on Brave at D23, or, Merida is a Badass

This weekend, as you may have noticed us mentioning, was Disney’s D23 Expo, which is why you’ve been seeing so much Disney, Pixar, and Marvel movie news floating around: they all showed up to strut their stuff for the Disney fan community. Now, while we’re interested in a lot of that, even the news that Pixar is going to be making a dinosaur movie couldn’t get us more excited than Brave does, and so here’s a generous helping of the D23 news about Brave, Pixar’s first movie with a female protagonist and a woman writer behind the story.

Some of it is a little spoilery, but only about what seems to be the first arc of the story, not the ending or plot developments.

From /Film:

The sons of three lords are competing for Merida’s hand (she happens to be a princess) in marriage. They’re all idiots. Meridia, an expert archer, decides she wants them to compete in an archery competition and each character, looking like the comedic rejects from Braveheart, bumble through the challenge. Of course, one randomly gets a bullseye. When her father, King Fergus (Billy Connolly), looks for a reaction, Merida is gone. She reappears like Sith Lord, approaching the men with a hood on, announcing that she’ll be deciding who wins her heart. She flips down her hood, unleashing her huge mane of red hair (more on that later) and starts walking down the course. As she’s walking, without stopping, she nails the first bullseye. Then the second bullseye. As she approaches the third, her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) screams at her not to do it. She defies her mother as, in slow motion, we see her fire the bow. Direct hit. Goosebumps.

Other details include Merida’s terrible triplet brothers, who only she can tell apart; that Pixar is pulling out all the stops to craft one of the most constantly textured and worn settings they’ve ever put together for a movie, while embedding Celtic and Pictish imagery at every turn; and that the bear that Merida goes up against in the trailer, Mordu, claimed her father’s leg in a legendary battle.

It’s definitely worth taking a look at /Film’s whole Brave roundup.

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  • Francesca M

    Can’t WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • nmlop

    Okay, I am really, really excited for this, but hope that there is more to the plot than, “who will this bad-ass young lady marry?”

    I totally get that this is just one of the first parts of the arc, so I am optimistic that it won’t be. But it could still be the set-up – does she run away so as not to marry these guys and have adventures? Great. Or does she run away, have adventures, and meet the Competent Man who she marries instead? Even if the Competent Man is great and they have a lot in common and they continue to have adventures… well I would still rather that her plot not be all about her love life.

  • Martha Gail

    Yeah, I almost hope she chooses not to marry at all.

  • Anonymous

    I’m just interested to finally see what a female Stewie Griffin with red hair will look like in action.

  • Dorkus

    Well, if you recall, Disney already did ok with a similar story 15 years ago: after all, Mulan ran away to fight in the war, then proved herself in battle and got the emperor’s blessing and came home, and it was only *implied* that she and Shang *might* get together afterward. And this is Pixar too, who usually make the right choices (Cars 2 is the exception). So I still have high hopes for this.

  • nmlop

    Haha, yeah, Mulan was good about that. That said, I was pretty disappointed with Mulan, because I knew the original folktale so well, and I didn’t like how Disney changed it.

    The original didn’t have a love interest at all (of course there were a lot of versions, it being a folk legend, and in some there’s a love interest, but I think he usually dies saving her in battle and never knows that she’s a lady). I was also annoyed that Pinocchio took the cricket companion, leaving Mulan with a dragon, because it actually would make way more sense for her companion to be a cricket. I also didn’t get that they wrote in the part about her being bad at being a soldier at first so that there could be character development – because in the folktale, she’s immediately badass, and becomes a general pretty quickly. I don’t think she became a general at all in the movie. And they left out the part with the goats!!! (Right? I think I would’ve remembered the awesome part with the goats!) I’m pretty sure the avalanche part took the place of the goat part in the movie. There’s also a part in the original where Mulan reveals that she’s a lady, and improbably, no one cares because she’s such a badass general. (Also, I was 8 years old. Just in case any of these criticisms seem weird/extreme!)

    But basically, the Disney version made Mulan look less smart and less able.

    Anyway, I really am still hopeful about this! I do really love Pixar.

  • kalsangikid

    Well, she didn’t look dumb or incapable to someone who hadn’t ever known anything about Mulan before, so I still think Disney did a good job with her, and she’s still my favorite Disney female.

    Personally, I’m still disappointed that Pixar’s first movie with a female protagonist is a princess at all.

  • Bianca M

    I really hope they’ll not turn it into an average “Unhappy Princess needs to find true love” story. And I’m excited to see more of it :)

  • nmlop

    I want to stick by the distinction that I didn’t say she looked dumb or incapable, but that she looked *less* smart and *less* able, and admitted that part of that is that I was 8, and didn’t get why it would be boring if she were basically a Mary Sue – which she is in the folktale.

    But you really don’t see anything problematic with taking a traditional legend from another culture, about a badass lady who is a great warrior, does clever things constantly, becomes a general, and is so cool that a sexist military culture doesn’t care she’s a lady, and making it a story about a tomboy who struggles to become a soldier? It can still be a great Disney movie and your favorite lady Disney character, but I stick by thinking that that was a messed up move on Disney’s part.

    Personally, I’m still disappointed that Pixar’s first movie with a female protagonist is a princess at all.

  • Agnt Duke

    And hence, the object of the plot.  She refuses the suitors by out-shooting them, and unleashes a curse on the kingdom through her rash actions.

  • Agnt Duke

    From what I’ve seen on the plot, this isn’t going to happen.  Instead, she finds independence, only to realize that itself has its own price to pay.