If the box office numbers are to be believed, you saw Pixar's latest animated offering, Brave, over the weekend. Which is great, because I have some questions. OK, perhaps this is due to my compulsory need to over-analyze things -- I know! It's just an animated kids movie! -- or it's the fact that I confuse easily because I graduated from a Big 12 school. (Considering that I went to the now-SEC-based Mizzou, even I'm confused about that last statement.) Regardless, here are three questions that I still have about Brave. (No, I do not have that question.)
Spoilers ahead, obviously.
Why didn't Princess Merida calmly explain to her father that her mother was now a bear?
Yes, I get it: King Fergus hates bears. But he also seems like a reasonable enough man who also loves his daughter. If Merida had calmly said, "Dad, can I talk to you in private?" then explained the situation, I can't imagine that Fergus would have immediately ran upstairs to slaughter what may or may not be his wife.
Look, I hate wasps (the bug, not white Anglo-Saxon Protestants). And, yes, there's a good chance that I'd react hastily with a wasp around me, even if I had been told that the wasp is family member. Two things: (A) even though I'd be very anxious, I still wouldn't try to kill the wasp -- you know, just in case. Most likely, though, I would just run away. And (B) I don't live in a world where magic is a real thing. If I did live in that world, I'd be quite open to the idea of this possible transformation happening to someone that I know. Alas, I suppose if Merida had explained things to her father, it would have considerably shortened the movie. (Which isn't a very good reason.)
What causes Queen Elinor to act like a real bear?
At one point, Elinor, while walking through the woods after she'd been turned into a bear, becomes very aggressive toward Merida. Now, this is somewhat explained with the fact that if the antidote isn't found by the second sunrise, Elinor would remain a bear permanently. So, we are to assume that this aggression is a result of Elinor becoming a full-time bear. But it's very ... inconsistent. I mean, the only other time it happens is when Elinor, while looking for a needle and thread, smells an apple. So is it "food" as opposed to "time" that causes this to happen? Because in the seconds before the sun comes up, Elinor, even though she's still a bear, seems as lucid as ever.
Why doesn't anyone seem to care that Harris, Hubert and Hamish were also turned into bears?
I get that they were treated as comic relief, but, as part of the story, they're a complete afterthought. I mean, just on a human level, these three have their entire life ahead of them. They had much more to lose than Elinor. Yet, Merida makes no attempt to even explain to them what exactly is going on in regards to the plan to change them all back into humans. She takes an, "Eh, I'm sure they'll all figure it out," kind of approach. And their actual transformation back is only revealed in a throwaway scene of the three running around as the camera pans out. I know that this is a story about a mother and a daughter, but Merida's casual disregard for her brothers' plight is quite remarkable.
Mike Ryan is senior entertainment writer for The Huffington Post. He has a tendency to over think things from time to time. You can contact him directly on Twitter.
Moms and girls everywhere deserve this movie, absolutely, and I hope they have a great time. <a href="http://www.salon.com/2012/06/19/brave_pixars_feminist_fantasy/" target="_hplink">But they also deserve much more, and much better</a>.
The animation studio's first film with a female protagonist, a defiant lass who acts as a much-welcome corrective to retrograde <a href="http://www.villagevoice.com/2012-06-20/film/brave-pixar-Kelly-Macdonald/" target="_hplink">Disney heroines of the past and the company's unstoppable pink-princess merchandising</a>.
Merely a dull amalgam of <a href="http://www.timeout.com/us/film/brave" target="_hplink">modern Mouse House idiosyncrasies</a>.
It's a rousing adventure and a hilarious comedy, and if its athletic and <a href="http://www.thewrap.com/movies/column-post/brave-review-finally-disney-princess-who-isnt-defined-prince-44636" target="_hplink">intelligent leading lady creates a new paradigm for animated features, so much the better</a>.
In addition to being fast, funny, and unpretentious, <a href="http://nymag.com/movies/reviews/brave-to-rome-with-love-edelstein/" target="_hplink">Brave is a happy antidote to all the recent films in which women triumph by besting men at their own macho games</a>...
Pixar is long overdue for a feature with a strong female character at its center. Now that she's arrived, <a href="http://www.mercurynews.com/celebrities/ci_20885779/review-brave-is-beautiful-but-plays-it-too" target="_hplink">it's clear that she deserves better</a>.
A film that starts off big and promising but diminishes into a rather wee thing as it chugs along, <a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/brave-review-disney-pixar-335633" target="_hplink">with climactic drama that is both too conveniently wrapped up and hinges on magical elements that are somewhat confusing to boot</a>.
Adding a female director to its creative boys' club, the studio has fashioned a resonant tribute to mother-daughter relationships that packs a level of poignancy <a href="http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117947728?refcatid=31" target="_hplink">on par with such beloved male-bonding classics as Finding Nemo</a>.
Pixar's latest ultimately offers nothing more <a href="http://www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/brave/6347" target="_hplink">than a caricature of a well-worn conceit</a>.
Pixar, a once-complex house of stories, has been downgraded to the happy meal alternative:<a href="http://www.indiewire.com/article/critics-notebook-has-pixar-gone-the-way-of-the-simpsons" target="_hplink"> "Brave" is a movie for six-year-olds</a>.