- The biggest news stories this movie has had (before May, anyway) have been: a) Pixar putting Brenda Chapman in charge of this back when it was The Bear and the Bow as the first female Pixar director, and b) Pixar kicking Brenda Chapman off to "co-director" position as the director of the Pixar short One-Man Bandand story supervisor of The Incredibles Mark Andrews took the lead.
This is, of course, rubbish. This is infuriating. I am angry. What's ridiculous about this is the fact that Brenda Chapman's essentially been at the front of this for years - she's basically written most of this story/movie - and the fact that Pixar actually showed off the fact that they've put a lady in charge. And it is, as a whole, incredibly disappointing that an obviously male-dominated company is setting back a really well-loved and incredibly well-received female professional.
On the other hand - I've listened to enough Creative Screenwriting podcasts of Pixar writers to know that after 80% of the creation process of one movie, it becomes a lot more collaborative, and to know that even though massive changes are made to Pixar movies as near as two weeks from the official release dates, the essential structure of it doesn't change up to a year before its release. And there have been directorial changes for Pixar movies before. It's never been a big deal before, because it was a man replacing a man, but still. And come on, it would be really, really stupid to pull a woman off the helm of her own project after announcing it so proudly and knowing very well that they have a bad rep with female leaders as well as female leads, so there must have been some reason for it - far beyond the fact that she's a woman. And I'm wondering if I'm making a bigger deal out of it than I should be, because these are industry-things, and who knows what happened.
The worst of it is that this is really the only terrible thing about the movie that I've uncovered so far - it's the worst of it because it's so woman-negative, when everything else has been ridiculously, surprisingly woman-positive - to an extent that I can't actually believe some of these things because of how fantastic they are? WHY DO YOU DO THIS, PIXAR.
because in the other corner, we have:
- This as the first released concept art from the movie:
I adore how everything we've seen of this movie so far has been so far away from man-made things, because I think Pixar is used to setting things closer to the mechanical, more human-influenced world. I love how firmly nature-based it is, and how creepy it can be because of that. This one is actually very easily my favourite of them all, because of its colour palette: blacks and greens and blues and grays, somehow really gorgeously natural, but also a little haunting? I love how dark it is. I love its tones, and the way its atmosphere has been created by its tones, and I think I started getting really, really excited about this movie with this still. just this still.
- This is the first released image of Princess Merida:
You see it better here, in concept-art-form, but I'm a little in love with her face, and her too-wide eyes, and the way it's rounder and longer around the sides of her face instead in a vertical oval. I love her hair. I love her hair. It is big and red and curly, but even better, it is clearly wild and unwieldy, and how perfect is that! how appropriate!!
- This trailer:
I really love that despite the fact that she has clearly been drawn to look as unlike the other Disney princesses as she can possibly be, she is still kind of beautifully charming - I am captivated by the way she looks around her, and the way she sets her mouth, and the way she jumps off her horse and lands on a knee and rests her bow-arm on the other knee - tumbling all naturally and interestingly and casual but coiled and cautious and ready, and without giving a damn about how she could possibly look to anyone paying attention, because she needs to be paying attention to her surroundings, not to her face. Unguarded facial expressions! My favourite kind of facial expression. She is also really young, and I love that very much. someone with the capacity to try very hard but also be very foolish.
(There was a YouTube comment with over 2000 likes about how they were interested the movie until she pulled the hood of her head, and I am angry about that because I'm thinking - what if Pixar sees that? what if Disney sees that? what if anyone who's trying to make a movie sees that and thinks, "fuck, there's no way I'm casting someone who's even unconventionally attractive". Conventionally attractive people are gorgeous, of course, but I am tired of repetition. I hate people.)
- And really, look at those landscapes in that teaser - wide and sweeping and still with plenty of pockets of dark, hidden things - plenty in-line with the concept art. I love all the blacks and greys. I like how much space they've established. It feels like there's something waiting to unravel, and that's lovely and huge.
- OK, the trailer is magnificent, and I am thrilled. I am thrilled. Some Pixar spokesman said the intention of the trailer was to impress upon you the fact that this movie would be darker and more intense than normal Pixar fare, and that's fantastic. Intensity!! Darkness!! Bring it on, Pixar!
- The poster is gorgeous.
- First released summary:
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 Witch (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.
Glorious cast aside, the only listed dudes are the King and the three Lords here - all three of whom have been apparently labelled 'comic relief'. The concept art of the lords are also in line with that - goofy-looking, very old. so basically -
I have seen no Guy mentioned here. No love interest? no love interest? no dudes in sight?! is this too good to be true? am I getting my hopes up? I love a good 'ship, but a lady who comes of age without a Man beside her?
- The central conflict is apparently between Merida and her mother, the Queen (hence the engraving of just their characters into the Brave title card), and I find that - really, really exciting. Even more no-dudes-in-sight!!
- Kelly Macdonald is wonderful and she has captured my heart from the little I've listened to her - from the drama actresses' Emmys roundtable, and interviews here and there - and I thought she was excellent as Helena Ravenclaw in Deathly Hallows 2, both face-wise and vocally, which is exciting! I am utterly charmed!
- John Lasseter's said quite frequently that they're looking to Studio Ghibli for inspiration and guidance, which is wonderful, because the ladies in the movies of that company are better than any ladies of any other company I know. (This is also why I'm a little calmer about Chapman being removed than I had been when I first read the news, because you couldn't find a better female character/heroine guideline from anyone. Ghibli's marvelous.)
So clearly I am excited. I am really, really excited. My tag on Tumblr for this movie's become "#lol a year", because I cannot believe I need to wait that long - longer, probably, because Singapore is a pain about releasing movies with the rest of the world.
I need to get back to college so I have something to do. Finding out most of this was some of the most fun I've had in the last three months.