Friday, 7 February 2014

8ish Reasons Why Frozen is Better than Brave

The first time I saw the trailer for Brave, I was super excited.  Celtic music, Scottish accents, a frizzy haired outdoorsy girl, and archery--four things that almost always catch my attention.  But the movie left me disappointed.

Frozen, on the other hand, was a movie I hadn't heard much about until my friends saw it.  And when I saw it, it was everything I had wanted out of Brave and more.

What I wanted out of Brave was an inspiring girl power story of independence.  Based on the scene featured in the trailer, I wanted it to be about how Merida proves to her mother that what's best for her is to find someone to marry when she wants, and he will be who she wants to marry.  She tries to gain independence from her overbearing mother and marry for love because she wants to, not because she's told to.

Frankly, this plot line is what was pitched to me, via movie trailer, and that's why I was disappointed.

But no!  Instead it's a movie about her relationship with her mother and how they need to learn to see eye to eye.  That's all fine and well I guess, but I wanted a movie about independence.

With the tagline,

I expected this to mean, change your fate from being fated to have your destiny chosen for you thanks to tradition to choosing it for yourself.

What I did like about Brave, aside from the incredible graphics, is that she is a badass.  Merida is a skilled female archer which I love (shout out to Katniss and Susan from the Chronicles of Narnia).  She can clearly hold her own in the face of danger.  She's not a damsel in distress.  Her hair is as wild and fiery as her personality.  She can and will show you up.  She's not done up; in fact, she hates being done up.

On that note, I agree with those who are upset that Disney redesigned Merida with makeup and tamer hair.  It's not that I am opposed to makeup, or that I don't think little girls should be exposed to doing herself up.  I like makeup.  It's fun.  However, to portray Merida in this manner goes against what her character represents: being happy with who you are and knowing that you don't have to change to be strong and beautiful.

Merida wasn't supposed to be hot.  She was supposed to be a badass.

Enter Frozen: a movie that keeps with Disney's dead parents trope, but challenges a much more pressing trope, much to the dismay of the other Disney princesses.

THANK YOU.  FINALLY.  No, you can't marry the man you just met.  Both Elsa and Kristoff challenge this notion of Anna's, and for good reason.  Hans, Frozen's version of Prince Charming, is actually an asshole.  Finally, a princess movie that's sensible and contains heartbreak!  Sometimes men are jerks and it sucks but it's true.  Hotness does not equate niceness.

The second big "FINALLY" in Frozen is that, yes, it is love that breaks the curse like always, but it's not romantic love, it's family love.

Unlike Brave, Frozen does have the romantic love story in it, but it's real love.  Not with a prince, not with someone you just met, but with an average Joe who you met and got to know.

It really is true love.  God job Disney.

As for Elsa, she's sexy as hell, and yet she's not the one with a love interest.  Her sex-appeal isn't even her main character trait, like with other princesses.

I wouldn't even say her power is her main trait.  It's her fear of herself.  That's where Elsa's character development lies; she learns to love herself and not be afraid of who she is.

Elsa may be the one with the powers, but Anna is the badass.  Though a sucker for love like many princesses before her, she's forward.  From calling Elsa out on being distant, to telling Hans he's gorgeous, to telling Kristoff that he's to help her get up the north mountain, to initiating the kiss between her and Kristoff, she's nothing but forward.  Other things that add to her badassery:
  • Taking charge of the situation and putting her own destiny in her hands
  • Beating off wolves on her own
  • Cliff diving
  • Facing a snow monster
  • Punching Hans right in the face

What I liked about Kristoff's character is that he's the Disney male we've needed for a while.  He's not the knight in shining armour coming to sweep you off your feet.  He's also not a foolish man.  As an equalist, I find the all-too-common trope of male characters being doofuses when there is a strong female lead belitting to men.  While Brave may not be the best comparison for this point, the only "dominant" male character in the movie is her father who is a large, goofy, oafish man.  Kristoff, on the other hand, did not sacrifice any of his masculinity and sensibility in lieu of Anna and Elsa.  He has no problem telling Anna she's wrong, but he also is willing to admit when she's right.  They're equals.

Lastly, there is a reference to having a gay family, and no one thinks that's weird.  Whoo!  Arendelle is progressive!  It was a small moment, so don't feel bad if you didn't catch it.  The shop owner gestures toward his family in the sauna...

...and would you look at that, it would seem he has a husband!

Thus, Frozen > Brave

You tried, Merida, but you dropped the ball on that one.  Maybe next time.  In the meantime, do you want to build a snowman?

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