“And so when we arrive at Pixar’s latest film, a Scottish Highlands-set adventure featuring the company’s first true female lead, it comes as something of a disappointment, perhaps a big disappointment, that instead of creating another of Pixar’s innovative and wholly original worlds, the creative team has plopped the girl down into a traditional princess story…
this. just this. it’s disappointing but i completely agree.
Merida does not reject girl things. She’s just not interested in them. She’s entirely willing to do the feminine things her mother insists on. She doesn’t have a fit. It’s just not what she likes to do with her life.
The creators were trying to stress, so very hard, that Merida is not a tomboy who hates girly things and being a girl. Merida loves being a girl, she loves wearing dresses and growing her hair long, she just doesn’t want to be a girl by her mother’s standards. Deryn Sharp of Leviathan has received similar complaints, (even more so, as she dresses up as a boy and cuts her hair short and actively despises doing lady like things) but the thing is, they! both! like! being! girls! And it’s completely understandable that they reject the traditions at the time, because a lot of the time, they were incredibly limiting and sucked.
I understand that people are irritated that the first Pixar girl lead is a princess, but that’s just how Chapman envisioned it. They were not going for a “okay, we have to make a girl movie now. Brenda, what do you think?” Brenda came up with a dark Scottish fairytale story, focusing on Merida and her mother- inspired by her and her own daughter- and Pixar loved it. It was the movie that she felt a headstrong girl and her traditional mother belonged in. And you know what? It’s difficult to have a mother like Elinor portrayed in a non royal context. So are you suggesting they do away with Elinor and the subplot of Merida trying to understand her mother, and just have her go on an adventure solo instead? Because I would take the ‘boring, overdone’ princess story every time if it meant a film where the mother is the secondary lead, not a villainess or an obstacle or a face in the background.
Newt, which was chronologically next in the Pixar line up, had a human lead who was a young woman into science and Einstein and endangered creatures. She was going to be wonderful, and probably an answer to all of those saying, “but a princess role is too overdone for Pixar!” But that film is gone, due to movie copies from other companies.
Do your work and look up the history of this film. Realize that the best elements of this film would not work in another setting. And stop acting like Merida hates being a girl!
I can see why people might be irritated, but that said, I’ve already seen grumblings about how it’s not feminist enough or not in the right ways and so maybe not worth a trip to the movie theater after all. And…isn’t that self-defeating? Here’s a movie about a brave young woman who’s the star of the show, but it’s not manly enough for boys and it’s not feminist enough for girls and the conclusion at large becomes that, of course, this just means more movies need to be made about boys because everyone can enjoy those.
Who’s to say that the next one won’t be different? Nothing about the trailers suggested that Merida hated being a girl, just that she wanted to do it her way. One review disappointed that Merida was a princess trying to change her fate doesn’t actually mean that the movie holds no merit as a strong feminist message, simply because it doesn’t do it exactly the way people wanted it to for Pixar’s first female-oriented movie.