The knee-jerk reaction of almost everyone who stumbles upon my blog is to wonder: Why ‘Cinderella in Combat Boots’? And why is it a fairy tale that violates all rules of fairy tales? The answer is simple: I wanted to show that even someone who is auto-crowned as the Queen of Damsels in Distress can be her own savior too, that she can wear anything that is tougher than glass slippers as she braves her way through life. I’m only a nondescript girl, but I believe I can show everyone that I can stand up for myself if I need to. In a way, I’m my own Cinderella donned in footwear fit for the harsh roads of life.
This belief ripples to my inclination to feminist fiction. It’s no secret that I have a penchant for fictional girls that refuse to be boxed in the She-Needs-a-Prince-Charming-to-Survive stereotype that, unfortunately, still exists in the world of books and flicks up to this day. I easily fall in love with the likes of Sabriel (The Old Kingdom Trilogy), Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games), Lisbeth Salander (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), and Arya Stark (A Song of Ice and Fire).
So it’s no surprise I was readily smitten by the feisty, wild-haired, fun-loving, and bow-and-arrow-toting heroine of Pixar’s first fairytale, Brave.
The kickass girl in question is Merida, and she’s already falling into the queue of my (future?) favorite unorthodox fairytale princesses.
Here’s the synopsis of the film:
Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through the generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland.
In Brave, a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida (Kelly Macdonald) confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts. Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), surly Lord MacIntosh (Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane).
Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Wise Woman (Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.
This is going to be Pixar’s first ever film that will feature a strong female lead, and I admit, that fact alone is enough to make me buy a movie ticket without hesitation. Pixar films turn out to be really entertaining, but it takes me a long while to watch them. Don’t get me wrong—I loved about half of their dozen original films, but the premise of each doesn’t appeal much to me at first glance. With the exception of the first two Toy Story’s and Finding Nemo, I don’t go to the movie houses just to see them. Usually I just wait for decent torrents from the internet or just buy DVDs when they come out. This time, I know it’s going to be different.
It’s Merida’s fault—I’m in love and I haven’t watched Brave yet! I hate to have high hopes for something like this because I get disappointed easily, but I can’t help it. I’m very happy that Pixar’s first foray into the ‘princess’ sub-genre contains a character like Merida, and I hope it lives up to my expectations. The feel of the movie seems to coincide with my tastes too—dark fantasy and a few tidbits of Scottish history? Like!
I’ve read lots of articles like this one comparing Merida to Arya Stark. I think I could see where that is coming from. Arya, like Merida, is not interested at all in any kind of “elegant pursuits,” much to the disappointment of many people around her (particularly Sansa, her lady-like older sister). The bow-and-arrow thing is also a similarity, at least for the TV Arya. In the first episode of Game of Thrones, Arya sneaks out of her stitching class and shoots an arrow from behind her brothers, who are practicing archery that time. She hits a bull’s eye and it irks Bran, who finds it hard to make a decent shot. Merida in the trailer is seen trying out to “prove her worth” with the other lords’ firstborns, and I have a hunch she’s going to out-shoot everyone in that yard, too.
Apparently, Merida and Arya prefer to do masculine stuff than to wallow in the comforts of their homes, entertaining suitors or knitting scarves. Both of them think they can forge their own destinies, which latter in their separate stories will seem to become identical as well. The analogy is just making me more excited!
2012, you’re going to be a special year for special movies. :)