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  #101  
Old 06-26-2012, 02:13 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Disney, by the way, has been okay with little boy butts since before Fantasia -- Little Hiawatha from 1937 had the titular indian's pants falling down as a running gag, and Disney had no problem with naked pixies and the like.




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Hiawatha



Big, burly Scottish guys is something different.
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  #102  
Old 06-26-2012, 02:50 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post
In a time when the ability of women all over the world are having their ability to create their own destiny challenged, it seems like a very powerful theme.
Having a powerful theme does not make it a powerful story.

Last edited by RickJay; 06-26-2012 at 02:51 PM..
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  #103  
Old 06-26-2012, 03:26 PM
NAF1138 NAF1138 is offline
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Having a powerful theme does not make it a powerful story.
Depends on your perspective I suppose, but I think that you (general you to the critics) are looking for a story that the film makers weren't trying to tell. I think that the story of a young woman growing up and how her relationship with her mother changed as she finds her place in the world and transfers from childhood to adulthood was very powerful. It made my wife cry. The secondary story of how a mother's relationship to her children and the rest of the world shifts as they grow up as well as the role that the matriarch plays in society was also powerful and well executed.

It was character stuff not plot driven, but it was a story of depth not breadth.

Last edited by NAF1138; 06-26-2012 at 03:28 PM..
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  #104  
Old 06-26-2012, 05:05 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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You're hung up on the analogy. My rebuttle was in my first post: it's a giant leap in logic to suggest people only didn't like Brave because it dealt with female themes, and it's frankly insulting to anyone who didn't like the movie to make such an assumption.
But that wasn't my point. Note I said nothing in that post about the story being powerful or even the movie being good in that post - it was that people were dismissive of the theme. You can have a powerful theme and a poor story. You can have a great story with very little theme.

I majored in Film and minored in Women's Studies - I've seen a LOT of craptacular movies with powerful gender themes.

(I liked Brave, saw it with my daughter though who LOVED it and is an easy critic. I'll agree it wasn't Pixars best, but I don't think it was their worst either. I liked Cars, I am not a Finding Nemo or A Bug's Life fan at all - this was better than either of those. My favorite is The Incredibles. I liked Up and Wall-E, but thing that they are both too ham handed in the way the message is delivered by a two by four - too emotionally manipulative to hold up to repeated viewings.)
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  #105  
Old 06-27-2012, 12:10 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Depends on your perspective I suppose, but I think that you (general you to the critics) are looking for a story that the film makers weren't trying to tell.
I didn't know what the story was going to be.

I mean, YMMV. Maybe you thought there was a lot to the story; I honestly do not. I found it shallow and a real waste of potential. The young woman DIDN'T grow up, and didn't find a place in the world; my main objection, really, is that Merida's character went nowhere except to admit she loved her mother, wholly as a result of thinking she had effectively killed her.

I don't see anyone being dismissive of the theme, and I don't know why people are being so defensive about it. To be honest I think the movie was a gloden opportunity, and they blew it. I wanted to see a female protagonist in a Pixar film, and when I relized it was about Merida and her mother I was thrilled; now, I thought, Pixar's gonna knock it out of the park... and then the movie just went completely flat. Boob gags and gross-Scotsmen jokes, really?

Last edited by RickJay; 06-27-2012 at 12:11 AM..
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  #106  
Old 06-27-2012, 08:04 AM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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I The young woman DIDN'T grow up, and didn't find a place in the world; my main objection, really, is that Merida's character went nowhere except to admit she loved her mother, wholly as a result of thinking she had effectively killed her.
She did grow up and her Queen like entrance and speech to the rowdy clansman proved that. Maybe Merida isn't ready to settle down with one of those three "princes"* but she is ready to assume her role as Queen. This is why the Queen/bear was so enraptured while watching Merida give her speech. Powerful moment, and it is when Merida also realized she would have to play that role in her near future and she was OK with it and had the skills to do it.

* They are all kinda duffuses anyway, but in a year or two they should be better. In fact I think the BIG kid, whose accent was the strongest , might not be so bad.
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  #107  
Old 06-27-2012, 09:10 AM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
I didn't know what the story was going to be.

I mean, YMMV. Maybe you thought there was a lot to the story; I honestly do not. I found it shallow and a real waste of potential. The young woman DIDN'T grow up, and didn't find a place in the world; my main objection, really, is that Merida's character went nowhere except to admit she loved her mother, wholly as a result of thinking she had effectively killed her.

I don't see anyone being dismissive of the theme, and I don't know why people are being so defensive about it. To be honest I think the movie was a gloden opportunity, and they blew it. I wanted to see a female protagonist in a Pixar film, and when I relized it was about Merida and her mother I was thrilled; now, I thought, Pixar's gonna knock it out of the park... and then the movie just went completely flat. Boob gags and gross-Scotsmen jokes, really?
She came to understand that she had responsibilities and a role to fill. Her mother came to understand that the role did not demand cookie cutter adherence to preconceived notions. You can be a woman and not be a wife. You can be a Queen and not have a King (although its mideveal Scotland, one of her brothers ends up King). You can be female and shoot arrows.

Yeah, my biggest complaint is that in trying so hard to make her mother and her admirable and not set this up for the standard fairy tale "women need a man to rescue them," all the male characters were portrayed as doofuses. So you ended up with lots of gross Scotsman jokes so we could be VERY CLEAR that only Merida or her mother (and maybe the triplets) can find their ass with both hands and you won't get any help from those men.
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  #108  
Old 06-27-2012, 09:23 AM
sunacres sunacres is offline
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I was thankful for the doofus humor and glorious eye candy and so was fully entertained from start to finish, but the entire plot structure went to hell for me when the parents, especially mom who was otherwise at great pains to prepare her daughter for her future, sprung the three suitors on her like a trap.

I still can't fit that into the character they tried to draw of the mother.

Last edited by sunacres; 06-27-2012 at 09:24 AM..
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  #109  
Old 06-27-2012, 09:42 AM
NAF1138 NAF1138 is offline
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Originally Posted by sunacres View Post
I was thankful for the doofus humor and glorious eye candy and so was fully entertained from start to finish, but the entire plot structure went to hell for me when the parents, especially mom who was otherwise at great pains to prepare her daughter for her future, sprung the three suitors on her like a trap.

I still can't fit that into the character they tried to draw of the mother.
This is a real problem, the bigger problem is that their kingdom is only as old as Merida's father. They don't have any traditions to speak of yet, so it's not like Merida is breaking with ancient custom just a law that is, at most, 10 years old and never tested.
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  #110  
Old 06-27-2012, 12:26 PM
Odesio Odesio is online now
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Originally Posted by NAF1138 View Post
This is a real problem, the bigger problem is that their kingdom is only as old as Merida's father. They don't have any traditions to speak of yet, so it's not like Merida is breaking with ancient custom just a law that is, at most, 10 years old and never tested.
They've existed as a people for longer than 10 years though. Remember the legend about the four kings? They have traditions that are older than the current kingdom.
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  #111  
Old 06-27-2012, 01:26 PM
NAF1138 NAF1138 is offline
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They've existed as a people for longer than 10 years though. Remember the legend about the four kings? They have traditions that are older than the current kingdom.
Sure, but the point is that this kingdom is new and the law would also have to be new. Maybe it's not a plot hole, maybe it's because the kingdom is new that it is possible to challenge the law at all. But these were previously warring tribes, so I have doubts that they were intermarrying prior to the establishment of the kingdom.
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  #112  
Old 06-27-2012, 01:49 PM
well he's back well he's back is offline
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Am enjoying this discussion. Will not be going to movie for money etc reasons, but plot does sound disappointing. Wish Pixar had chosen adaptation of " The Paper Bag Princess" if the female protagonist HAD to be a princess. And since when is it brave for a girl to disagree with her mother?
Wish something in this thread made me interested in this film. But so far no.
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  #113  
Old 06-27-2012, 02:02 PM
NAF1138 NAF1138 is offline
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And since when is it brave for a girl to disagree with her mother?
The bravery isn't a reference to the disagreement with her mother. If you want to give the film makers credit it probably is a reference to the difficulty of leaving behind childhood and facing adult decisions. Again, the whole standing up to her mother, child rebelling against the unfair rules of her parents is a misdirection. They used that familiar story device to do something very different. Merida was, without question, in the wrong the whole time and with every selfish childish choice she made created worse and worse outcomes for herself and her family. It was only after she started to grow up and take responsibility rather than simply hopping on her horse and running away from things she disliked, that things started to get better.

If you don't want to give them credit it is just a snappier sounding title than "The Bear and the Bow" and sounds like it means something profound when it doesn't really mean much.

The movie isn't perfect, and it's not without its flaws, but it was clearly trying to say some stuff about growing up and finding your way in the world that is sort of being hand waived away.

Last edited by NAF1138; 06-27-2012 at 02:03 PM..
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  #114  
Old 06-27-2012, 02:10 PM
ComeToTheDarkSideWeHaveCookies ComeToTheDarkSideWeHaveCookies is offline
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I'm certainly surprised that I'm on the not-liking-it-so-much side considering what those of you who liked it seem to have experienced. Those experiences are right up my alley of appreciation, to the point where I'm quite confident that I seek them out whenever possible at both the conscious and unconscious levels. I'm an animation-loving-cinefile-geek-lesbian fangrrl who owns just about everything that Pixar has ever made.

RickJay's experience much more closely resembles mine than NAF's does, and it wasn't only due to being led astray by the trailer. I'm used to that. What 'ruined' the film for me, for lack of a better word, was that I realized that my mistaken imaginings were more interesting to to think about than what I was watching, while I was watching it.

Far far far more often when my preconceived notions are proven false with trailers vs the actual film, those notions are tossed aside as I'm whisked merrily along the whatever story the filmmakers want to tell. But in this case, in spite of being right smack in the middle of a target demographic for the film (at least on the adult side) it didn't connect with me.

I do admit that I've wondered that as a 37-going-on-13 year old married lesbian who has no kids and doesn't want them, vs NAF as the father of a young NAFlet with his lovely wife...perhaps it is that paradigm shift of parenthood that is distinguishing our views. I'm only half kidding, but to put my clumsy argument simply, I was perhaps trying to identify with Merida while NAF was perhaps seeing his wife and child in the roles, including possibly considering the relationship of his wife and her mother. Or something.

Last edited by ComeToTheDarkSideWeHaveCookies; 06-27-2012 at 02:11 PM..
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  #115  
Old 06-27-2012, 02:30 PM
well he's back well he's back is offline
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For anyone who has seen both, how does "Brave" compare with "Coraline"? Theme wise, obviously not animation wise. Both concern mother-daughter dynamic. Right?

Last edited by well he's back; 06-27-2012 at 02:32 PM..
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  #116  
Old 06-27-2012, 03:02 PM
NAF1138 NAF1138 is offline
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Originally Posted by ComeToTheDarkSideWeHaveCookies View Post

I do admit that I've wondered that as a 37-going-on-13 year old married lesbian who has no kids and doesn't want them, vs NAF as the father of a young NAFlet with his lovely wife...perhaps it is that paradigm shift of parenthood that is distinguishing our views. I'm only half kidding, but to put my clumsy argument simply, I was perhaps trying to identify with Merida while NAF was perhaps seeing his wife and child in the roles, including possibly considering the relationship of his wife and her mother. Or something.
That might have something to do with it. I am also probably being pretty heavily influenced by the intensive course on adolescent psychology that I am just now wrapping up and have been more or less buried under for the last 6 weeks. Couple that with my not knowing anything at all about the movie going in other than having seen the very first teaser trailer and I am probably coming at this from a different place.

It doesn't hurt that I liked it either. I thought Merida was a really well drawn character and one that you don't see that often in this type of movie. I thought that Pixar's playing with traditional fairy tale and family movie conventions was really wonderful. You have it all there, the unruly teenager who just knows better than the adults. The doffus dad. The stoney unreasonable mom. The witch. The ancient evil supernatural terror. But none of it was true. The witch wasn't evil, the Mom was in the right the whole time, the Dad was goofy but actually a pretty fit ruler. The ancient evil terror was really just an analog for the teenage girl and what she could become. And the teenager didn't actually know better, she was the one causing the chaos. I thought it was great on that level.

Now none of this means anything if you don't find the movie itself to be entertaining. I did, YMMV.
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  #117  
Old 06-28-2012, 11:49 AM
Lantern Lantern is online now
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I had fairly low expectations going in because of reviews and a quick scan of this thread. And for the first half hour the movie fell below those low expectatations and the characters and the situation felt very trite.

But then the movie grew on me and I was quite moved by the end. I think the mother/daughter character arc was nicely done. I disagree that Merida remained the same; she clearly matured and learnt that she had responsibilities as a daughter and princess and couldn't just do as she pleased. And her mother also compromised. I also liked the link drawn between the mother/daughter story and the larger political context through the legend. Selfishness and pride can tear apart a nation just as it can a family.

I agree with most of what NAF1138 says above. It may have started as a How to Train a Dragon knockoff but it went in a different and IMO more interesting direction. Someone also mentioned mediocre pop songs and I agree about that as well; a real disappointment after the wonderful Newman songs in Toy Story 1/2. Overall not one of Pixar's best but a solid B+ IMO.

Incidentally Brenda Chapman was apparently fired for creative differences though she still got a directing credit. I am curious about what the differences were about and I hope the DVD extras shed some light.
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  #118  
Old 06-29-2012, 08:52 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Merida was, without question, in the wrong the whole time and with every selfish childish choice she made created worse and worse outcomes for herself and her family. .
Mostly but I have to agree with Merida that being forced into a marriage with some dude she had never even met was not a Good Thing, and she was right to rebel there.
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  #119  
Old 06-29-2012, 09:36 PM
Odesio Odesio is online now
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Sure, but the point is that this kingdom is new and the law would also have to be new. Maybe it's not a plot hole, maybe it's because the kingdom is new that it is possible to challenge the law at all. But these were previously warring tribes, so I have doubts that they were intermarrying prior to the establishment of the kingdom.
Well, no, my point was that the law didn't necessarily have to be new. Just because you have a new king doesn't mean all the laws from the past were abandoned.
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  #120  
Old 06-29-2012, 10:34 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Well, no, my point was that the law didn't necessarily have to be new. Just because you have a new king doesn't mean all the laws from the past were abandoned.
Indeed, one can observe just from the histories of the kingdoms of the British Isles that law didn't reset when a new dynasty was established. England/Britain itself still refers some laws as far back as the Magna Carta and even before, to Roman times, despite the fact that the country's line of governance hasn't been a contunuous one; in the last thousand years you have the Normal conquest, then the transition to the Angevins and the Plantagenets, then the House of Lancaster, the deposing of Henry VI, the Yorks, the Tudors, and then the transition to the first unification of the Scottish and British crown, then the complete abolition of the monarchy in 1649 and its restoration in 1660, then the Glorious Revolution and things have been kind of steady since then. But nobody ever said "let's throw all the laws out." Ever. It never would have crossed anyone's mind that England had to be reset.

From what we know of the kingdom of Brave - which isn't actually called Scotland, it has some other name - King Fergus's rule is a recent one, but the nation existed beforehand, it's just that there was a period of time when the crown was up for grabs, and apparently was unified by necessity when invaders came. So there might have been a time of chaos but these people would still have thought of their land as a kingdom in wait of a clear decision on who was king.
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  #121  
Old 06-30-2012, 07:33 AM
Acid Lamp Acid Lamp is offline
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Yeah, my biggest complaint is that in trying so hard to make her mother and her admirable and not set this up for the standard fairy tale "women need a man to rescue them," all the male characters were portrayed as doofuses. So you ended up with lots of gross Scotsman jokes so we could be VERY CLEAR that only Merida or her mother (and maybe the triplets) can find their ass with both hands and you won't get any help from those men.
I've got to disagree a bit there. I read the characters very differently. The story was told from the Ladies' point of view and thus we didn't really see too much of the serious male interaction that took place; as was appropriate to keep the focus. Most of the time they were joking around or "off duty". Fergus in particular had a few moments where he was shown to be a competent leader, a fearless fighter, and loving and protective father and husband. Hell, he fought Mordu twice and didn't hold back or agonize about it. He hopped in to defend his family knowing full well he might be going to his death. During the chase scene, they were all laughs and boasts until they actually caught their quarry, then shit got real. The other lords and sons were used for comic relief, but even then if you think about it, we only really saw them in "dad/ festival manners" mode. At the end where we actually find out that those old goofy men were really ferocious warriors and good leaders it makes you pause a moment to consider what we missed while we were focused on Merida's story. Fergus was up to his eyeballs in trying to keep the peace among violent, capricious and politically powerful Lords. Rather than incompetent, I got the impression that the men didn't listen either, paralleling the main story line. The movie was about the need for communication.

Did anyone else get the impression that the movie was heavily cut and we missed ten minutes of something important?
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  #122  
Old 06-30-2012, 01:52 PM
Aeschines Aeschines is online now
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Did anyone else get the impression that the movie was heavily cut and we missed ten minutes of something important?
Yep, good point. The movie seemed overly focused on the mom and what happens to her, as though material that would balance out the story had been cut.

As for overall impression, I thought it was a decent kids movie. My six-year-old daughter loved it. I thought it was pretty boring overall, but I'm not sure why everyone here is analyzing it as though it's supposed to be equally entertaining to adults and children. Perhaps because it is Pixar? I think <i>Toy Story</i> was equally for adults and children, but most of their movies have not been.
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  #123  
Old 06-30-2012, 10:38 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Yep, good point. The movie seemed overly focused on the mom and what happens to her, as though material that would balance out the story had been cut.

As for overall impression, I thought it was a decent kids movie. My six-year-old daughter loved it. I thought it was pretty boring overall, but I'm not sure why everyone here is analyzing it as though it's supposed to be equally entertaining to adults and children. Perhaps because it is Pixar? I think <i>Toy Story</i> was equally for adults and children, but most of their movies have not been.
Until recently, most of their movies worked very well for adults; "Wall-E," "Ratatouille," "The Incredibles," all three "Toy Story" films, "Monsters Inc." and "Finding Nemo" were all written with adults in mind. Arguably "A Bug's Life" was not. That's eight out of nine.

"Cars" was probably written with adults in mind, too, though not especially successfully; a lot of the story and jokes would be over a kid's head.
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  #124  
Old 07-01-2012, 10:03 AM
Aeschines Aeschines is online now
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Until recently, most of their movies worked very well for adults; "Wall-E," "Ratatouille," "The Incredibles," all three "Toy Story" films, "Monsters Inc." and "Finding Nemo" were all written with adults in mind.
I think you are right. I really enjoyed the Fantastics. Seems like a long time ago...

But there's also nothing wrong with just making a movie for kids. I can see why people would expect more from Brave based on past Pixar movies, however.
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  #125  
Old 07-02-2012, 08:24 AM
ISiddiqui ISiddiqui is offline
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Her mother came to understand that the role did not demand cookie cutter adherence to preconceived notions.
I just saw it and this is my problem with it. I guess I just couldn't suspend my disbelief enough to buy that the mother would all of a sudden decide you don't have to marry a suitor for political alliance for the sake of the Kingdom simply because Merida finally grew up and realized she needed to do so for the realm. It just doesn't seem in the Queen's character, even if she'd been a bear for a week.

That and the clan folk getting all teary eyed and immediately agreeing that the kids of nobles should get married for love.

I think that it would have been more powerful, frankly, if Merida decided that while her mom may have had a change of heart, that for the benefit of the country that she would marry one of the sons of the clan leaders. Not becauser her mom and dad wanted to, but because she knew it was right. Though, then again, I'm sure that would have made my fiance really angry - so perhaps not the greatest of endings. Maybe it's the anti-monarchist in me that wants movies to show that being a royal isn't all about fun and love, but about service and doing what you are told/expected.
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  #126  
Old 07-03-2012, 09:06 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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I think that it would have been more powerful, frankly, if Merida decided that while her mom may have had a change of heart, that for the benefit of the country that she would marry one of the sons of the clan leaders. Not becauser her mom and dad wanted to, but because she knew it was right. Though, then again, I'm sure that would have made my fiance really angry - so perhaps not the greatest of endings. Maybe it's the anti-monarchist in me that wants movies to show that being a royal isn't all about fun and love, but about service and doing what you are told/expected.
That kind of makes you a monarchist, doesn't it?

Warning: Spoilers. We seem to have abandoned the spoiler tags. SPOILERS!

Your point is a valid one, though. The speech in the Great Hall is the movie's turning point but it doesn't work, either logically or in terms of characterization, and so it fails, and the movie fails, at that point.

It logically fails because, as you point out, there is no reason for the Queen to suddenly change her mind at that point in time. We're given no advance warning at all that she will suddenly change her opinion on Merida's betrothal, and there is no reason for her to have changed her mind. In fact, there is now even more reason for her to be even more determined to see Merida do her duty. Merida has demonstrated appalling judgment, she has demonstrated very little to convince Elinor that her own strengths are of any use to anyone, and the disruption of the process has led to exactly the problem Queen Elinor predicted would happen; the clans' rivalry has erupted. The Queen was indisputably correct in the facts of the matter, even if she could have done a better job explaining it to Merida.

Furthermore, the major backstory revelation that happened only minutes before that speech simply reinforces the Queen's being correct about everything. Had there been a discovery that following tradition had once resulted in catastrophe, Elinor would have a reason to change her mind. But what they found says precisely the opposite.

So Elinor coaches Merida to say exactly what Merida wanted all along. Merida says it, and, conveniently, the three eldest sons all say "why, sure, sounds great" and turn down the chance to marry the hottest chick in Scotland. So what has Merida learned, exactly? What's her arc here? She didn't want to marry one of the kiltists, she screws up big time, and her Mom completely caves and Merida gets what she wanted; now the only thing left to resolve is the action part of the story. We learn she loves her Mom, but shit, I already knew that; teenagers getting pissed off is par for the course, to use a Scottish phrase.

The speech for me was the real "WTF?" part of the film; it just totally ends the movie's character arcs halfway through the movie and does so in such a silly fashion that I, like someone else in this thread who I can't remember, was left wondering if they'd dropped ten minutes of footage in the editing room that we really should have seen.
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  #127  
Old 07-03-2012, 03:39 PM
ISiddiqui ISiddiqui is offline
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I think you said it far better than I did. Nothing in Queen Elinor's story shows that she would have thrown the peace of the realm away to find love. In fact she says earlier in the movie that she didn't exactly marry for love (a great scene when King Fergus is like 'wha?') but it was the right thing to do - Heck, without her the Kingdom would be lost.

So in the end, Merida "grows up" to realize that she needs to put her country's needs above her own, only to be told by her mother, nah... just kidding, marry for love like you wanted to in the first place. And the other clan leaders, who were just prepping for war against Fergus suddenly get their hearts melted? Just a whole lot of disbelief being asked to be suspended there in the span of 2-3 minutes.

(also the whole I turned mom into a bear thing was kind of silly to me, but I guess I could have lived with it if the ending had been done right).

Last edited by ISiddiqui; 07-03-2012 at 03:43 PM..
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  #128  
Old 07-03-2012, 04:54 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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I would also point out that one of the three sons, the wimpy stupid one, actually won the competition. He hit the bullseye dead on. He won Merida's hand by the rules they had just set out. That fact is completely ignored, virtually the instant it happens, and that clan makes no mention at all of it.
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  #129  
Old 07-03-2012, 07:37 PM
DSeid DSeid is offline
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OTOH I see Elinor's arc quite clearly. It was, in a derivative from "Brother Bear" way, the idea behind the transformation. She experienced the value of Merida's unladylike skills and, as a bear, saw the importance of breaking with traditional behaviors sometimes. She heard how her child actually had heard the lessons she had been teaching her (and much of the end showed the importance of what she learned from her mother, even sewing skills) and put those together. Doing things a different way is sometimes not allowed; it is necessary. Marriage to one of those apparent dweebs* (and I doubt Mom's assessment was much different than Dad's, none was good enough for her) was not what was required; Merida's growing into the role of ruler was. And since the change of tradition was only to be done with the assent of the other clans "peace in the kingdom" was not placed at risk; just one established tradition was.

The point was that both mother and daughter learned from each other. And learned respect for each other and each other's perspectives as well.

Wimpy son at most tied to another arrow going through his and most warriors would say three bull's eyes with one going through the other's arrow wins.



*One can easily imagine getting to know these boys and finding that first appearances are deceiving.
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  #130  
Old 07-03-2012, 08:15 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Your point is a valid one, though. The speech in the Great Hall is the movie's turning point but it doesn't work, either logically or in terms of characterization, and so it fails, and the movie fails, at that point.

It logically fails because, as you point out, there is no reason for the Queen to suddenly change her mind at that point in time. We're given no advance warning at all that she will suddenly change her opinion on Merida's betrothal, and there is no reason for her to have changed her mind. In fact, there is now even more reason for her to be even more determined to see Merida do her duty. Merida has demonstrated appalling judgment, she has demonstrated very little to convince Elinor that her own strengths are of any use to anyone, and the disruption of the process has led to exactly the problem Queen Elinor predicted would happen; the clans' rivalry has erupted. The Queen was indisputably correct in the facts of the matter, even if she could have done a better job explaining it to Merida.
.
Except the Merida was able to demonstrate that the clans would respect her as a Queen, and that Merida would be able to stop the men from their endless bickering- all without getting married.

And who is to say she won't? But marrying her off to a dude she's never met by a contest? No way.
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  #131  
Old 07-04-2012, 12:54 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Except the Merida was able to demonstrate that the clans would respect her as a Queen, and that Merida would be able to stop the men from their endless bickering- all without getting married.
She did this by giving a speech her mother was pantomiming to her. The Queen has to have made this decision before the words were out of Merida's mouth. Why did the Queen decide this BEFORE Merida started her speech?

That's what makes the writing of the scene so bizarre; the logical, albeit a bit hackneyed, approach would have been for Merida to give a speech SHE thought of; have her stumble over her words and have to cover over a few errors, but speak from the heart about her own feelings and what she'd learned, combine that with her sense of duty into a convincing argument, and have that as part of what convinces the Queen that breaking with tradition is okay. But that isn't what happens. The Queen decides before walking (well, shambling) into the room that she's changed her mind, and then coaches Merida through most of the speech. But to that point she has little reason to make that decision; most of what happens should, in fact, convince her of the opposite.

I'm not suggesting this movie is the logical storytelling disaster "The Phantom Menace" was. It's not a bad movie. But it's just not correctly tied up in a lot of little ways that other Pixar films are.
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  #132  
Old 07-04-2012, 11:51 PM
ISiddiqui ISiddiqui is offline
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And since the change of tradition was only to be done with the assent of the other clans "peace in the kingdom" was not placed at risk; just one established tradition was.
It appeared quite obvious that that established tradition was indeed tied to "peace in the kingdom" as the clans were basically acting out a war in the Great Hall. I guess it all depends on whether you can actually can suspend disbelief that the clans would immediately fall for a "let us marry who we love speech" (especially for Medieval nobility!).

One can easily imagine this tenuous alliance falling quickly after the 2nd generation decide to do things their way instead of acting to solidify the alliance. And in medieval times, the most clear cut way to solidify alliances was... intermarriage.
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  #133  
Old 07-05-2012, 02:30 AM
magnusblitz magnusblitz is offline
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I was really disappointed with the movie, and I think Pixar has slipped off my list of "must-see" products now. There was just no real compelling plot - girl is told she wants to get married, doesn't want to, turns her mom into a bear, realizes it was a bad move, gets mom un-beared. That's pretty much it, and there isn't enough to fill in the blank. None of the characters had much of a personality (all of the three suitor's dads were interchangeable, for example) or made enough of an impact for me to remember their names. The witch just disappears, the other bear isn't a real villain and the ending seemed to deus-ex-machina for me.

All in all, a very forgettable movie, and this is coming from someone who got teary-eyed at Toy Story 3 and Up. But hey, the CGI on the hair looked nice.

Last edited by magnusblitz; 07-05-2012 at 02:31 AM..
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  #134  
Old 07-05-2012, 10:06 AM
Jragon Jragon is offline
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Is anybody... confused by the merchandising for this movie? I mean, I saw it coming, but it seems like nobody heard any word other than "princess" at the marketing meeting for this movie. The movie has problems, as we've banged on about in this thread, but about 95% of the toys (the only exception being a couple sets I saw only at the Disney Store) are pretty Dress Me Up and Do My Hair pretty princess dolls. Oh, but they package it with a cheap plastic bow the doll can't even hold so it's okay I guess .

I mean, I'm not really surprised, but it seems kind of really entirely stupid to make a movie that would theoretically appeal to girls who DON'T like the traditional pretty princess model and then go ahead and market all the toys to the people the movie wasn't (ostensibly) meant for.
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  #135  
Old 07-05-2012, 12:06 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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I mean, I'm not really surprised, but it seems kind of really entirely stupid to make a movie that would theoretically appeal to girls who DON'T like the traditional pretty princess model and then go ahead and market all the toys to the people the movie wasn't (ostensibly) meant for.
Speaking as the father of a little girl, I assume you they know what they're doing. And there's no conflict. Girls want an action heroine whose hair they can style. A six-year-old sees nothing illogical or wrong with getting all pretty with sparkles and stickers before going out into the forest to kick some ass.
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  #136  
Old 07-05-2012, 12:41 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Is anybody... confused by the merchandising for this movie? I mean, I saw it coming, but it seems like nobody heard any word other than "princess" at the marketing meeting for this movie. The movie has problems, as we've banged on about in this thread, but about 95% of the toys (the only exception being a couple sets I saw only at the Disney Store) are pretty Dress Me Up and Do My Hair pretty princess dolls. Oh, but they package it with a cheap plastic bow the doll can't even hold so it's okay I guess
I agree that the sets I saw at the normal retails places were pretty cheap looking, but I was really suprised at the high level of quality for a similar set at Disney.

Parents, if your little girls wants some toys from this film, get them at the Disney store.
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  #137  
Old 07-05-2012, 10:01 PM
obfusciatrist obfusciatrist is offline
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All I noticed about the toys is that they (and were widely available before the movie was released) spoiled what the advertising had gone to great lengths to keep veiled.
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  #138  
Old 07-05-2012, 11:46 PM
RandMcnally RandMcnally is offline
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I saw the movie last night. I thought it was absolutely gorgeous, and very 'meh." I was bored by it and decided to just enjoy the scenery.
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  #139  
Old 07-06-2012, 10:11 AM
limegreen limegreen is offline
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I saw it this week, and the only aspect that riveted my attention was the hair/fur texture, and sort of in the same vein, all the tartans and tapestries. (I'm a weaver.) The queen's green dress made my fingers itch to see how it was woven.
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  #140  
Old 07-06-2012, 10:41 AM
Enderw24 Enderw24 is offline
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It was definitely cute. It's nice to have an actual functional mother-daughter relationship being the center of a movie for a change, and I actually found the lack of "villain" a good thing.

However - holy plot holes batman! It was absolutely rife with characters doing stupid, senseless or otherwise unexplained things for no apparent reason.

SPOILER:

How big a blank cheque does she give the witch? "Make my mother be different". How could anyone with half the sense of a shoelace make such a DUMB mistake? Say what you think - "make my mother NOT WANT TO MARRY ME OFF". Then the escape scene - okay, I can just about accept her not making any attempt to actually tell anyone what was going on at that point - she's in shock, and her dad's on a drunken rampage - but why go to all the trouble to bring her mother inside the castle the next day? Here's an idea - walk inside on your tod and go see your dad now he's sober. You're allowed! It's your house! What was the intended purpose of the spell in the first place, since its only actual effect - turning people into bears - appears to be classed as a side effect? Why the need for the wild horseback ride at the end, when the only actual instruction that was given - to mend the tapestry - could be much more easily accomplished by staying in the room?

I don't remember that degree of missing motivation in other films. As far as I can remember, every action in, say, Finding Nemo, or Monsters Inc, or the Incredibles makes actual sense for the character concerned (there's one HUGE plot hole in UP! - maybe they're just getting slack?) But the plot in Brave is suffering from a severe case of Not THought Through


Having said all that, I did actually rather enjoy it. Fun characters, gorgeous visuals (that hair!
What if, instead, she said this:

SPOILER:
Make my mom stop being so unbearable!

Last edited by Enderw24; 07-06-2012 at 10:42 AM..
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  #141  
Old 07-06-2012, 03:51 PM
Katriona Katriona is offline
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* They are all kinda duffuses anyway, but in a year or two they should be better. In fact I think the BIG kid, whose accent was the strongest , might not be so bad.
He reminded me of Chris Griffin. I half-expected Seth Green to have voiced him!
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  #142  
Old 07-16-2012, 02:29 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Saw it yesterday with my family and we all enjoyed it. The story was adequate (if not terribly earth-shaking), and the visuals were gorgeous. Good mix of serious and funny. The scene where Merida rides out from the castle one morning and practices her archery while on horseback was simply spectacular. Another highlight for me was the three impish red-haired brothers; I hope Pixar does a short film just about them! I didn't buy the Queen's change of heart during Merida's speech to the quarreling clansmen, and all of us expected that Merida would have to actually repeat the witch's words about "mending the breach" before her mom would change back into a human. Still, a good flick, and well worth seeing on the big screen.

lawoot, how did they manage to work in the Pizza Planet delivery truck? I missed it.

CalMeacham, nice catch about the witch going to the Wicker Man festival (on Summerisle, didn't she say?).

NAF1138, good points about the true villain and true hero[ine] of the movie.

John Ratzenburger did the voice for the guard who announced the arrival of the three clans, didn't he?

I agree with those who've said the new songs were meh. The orchestral music was appropriately sweeping and evocative, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
...we not only have bare little boy butts, but big Scottiosh Men, too (After being teased with the "Feast your eyes!" line, they actually DO let us see them).
That was pretty funny. I liked how they handled the reveal after the Scottish lords were all back down at ground level again, dignifiedly marching back into the castle.

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Originally Posted by NAF1138 View Post
...I thought Merida was a really well drawn character and one that you don't see that often in this type of movie. I thought that Pixar's playing with traditional fairy tale and family movie conventions was really wonderful. You have it all there, the unruly teenager who just knows better than the adults. The doffus dad. The stoney unreasonable mom. The witch. The ancient evil supernatural terror. But none of it was true. The witch wasn't evil, the Mom was in the right the whole time, the Dad was goofy but actually a pretty fit ruler. The ancient evil terror was really just an analog for the teenage girl and what she could become. And the teenager didn't actually know better, she was the one causing the chaos. I thought it was great on that level....
Well said. I agree.

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Originally Posted by Aeschines View Post
I think you are right. I really enjoyed the Fantastics. Seems like a long time ago....
So long ago... I don't remember ever seeing it at all!

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Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
I would also point out that one of the three sons, the wimpy stupid one, actually won the competition. He hit the bullseye dead on. He won Merida's hand by the rules they had just set out. That fact is completely ignored, virtually the instant it happens, and that clan makes no mention at all of it.
Merida competed for herself, and got three bullseyes, so she "won." But you're right, that particular clan would probably have made a stink.
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  #143  
Old 07-16-2012, 06:08 PM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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I thought it was okay, but really the whole mom-turns-into-bear thing didn't work for me. In a fairy tale/fantasy movie I don't have a problem with magical spells that can turn humans into animals, but this particular plot point just seemed kind of random. It didn't have any dramatic/mythical/psychological resonance for me. At one point I was thinking "Is this supposed to symbolize something? Because I don't get it." (I did briefly entertain the notion that it represented that awkward time in a teenage girl's life when her mother "goes through the change", but that didn't really work either.)

In narrative terms I think it would have worked better to have either the heroine get turned into a bear (although this would make the movie seem even more like a retread of Brother Bear/The Frog Princess) or have the dad turned into a bear and the mother and daughter have to work together to keep him out of trouble and figure out how to turn him back.

I also thought it was a shame that none of the secondary characters were developed. The witch really only got one scene. The little brothers didn't have distinct personalities, and I don't think they even had names. I don't think the one named servant spoke, she just screamed. We did see something of the three suitors' personalities in the archery competition scene, but they did nothing of importance for the rest of the movie. Heck, even the cute animal sidekick (the horse) was largely a non-entity.
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  #144  
Old 07-16-2012, 08:58 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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...I don't think the one named servant spoke, she just screamed....
She did speak, briefly, when asked by the King in the hallway what she'd seen.
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  #145  
Old 07-16-2012, 09:53 PM
maggenpye maggenpye is offline
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Took the Kid (13 y/o) at the weekend.

We loved it. Sporadic applause in the theatre at the end. Friend's son (10 y/o) has been twice with his mates.

The Triplets (Hamish, Hubert and Harris) were great, it was nice to see younger siblings portrayed as friends and allies instead of nasty nuisances. They were called by name at various points, but were also talked to as a group. The only one I could remember offhand was Hamish, but I knew they had specific names.

Maudie (the servant), while a screamer, showed real bravery in hiding the key when threatened by the bears and even got a sweetheart at the end.

The Kid liked how the suitors were all happy with Merida's solution - she thought they'd all been pushed into the competition for her hand as much as Merida had been. Someone said upthread that the 'winning clan' should have kicked up more of a fuss, but I thought that's why they were all fighting - the tradition had been broken and the bonds (of family, clan and wider alliances) were breaking as the spell gained strength.

I liked Merida's mum threatening to 'catch her and eat her up' as they played on her birthday, nice foreshadowing.

And I could happily buy into the bear myths that formed the clan symbols and legends and which turned out to be true. As Merida's mum kept saying; legends are based on truth.

The witch was brilliant, a fully formed comic relief character in two scenes (the meeting and the 'out of cottage' autoreply). If she'd been in much more than that, she'd have stolen the movie. Not evil, but neutral chaos as the gamers say. "Change your fate? Sure, dearie." Bippity boppity ka-blammo!

Me and the Kid have a very easy relationship (touch wood), but we totally got the mother/daugter frustration. Their relationship and the mirrored conversation before Merida went to the woods seemed spot on to us.

It worked. We laughed, we cried, we cheered at the end.

What more could me and my red-headed daughter wish for?
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  #146  
Old 07-17-2012, 08:28 PM
Fair Rarity Fair Rarity is offline
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I loved it too. My kid loved it and on the way home, she asked for the dvd. We weren't home 10 minutes before I was fashioning a bow from a broom and yarn. I liked it better than Up, The Incredibles, and Wall-E and I haven't seen Cars 2.
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  #147  
Old 07-17-2012, 09:59 PM
smiling bandit smiling bandit is offline
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My vote for "Sucks Balls." Unlike some others, I do think its story failigns make it a bad movie. It's lame, filled with plot holes and mischaracterization, and bluntly misses chances that I could see coming a mile away. As another poster said, normally when movies blow my expectations away, they do so because they drastically improve upon cliche stories. This one honestly falls short of that mark by a country mile.

Take a comparison with Tangled: Every character is competent at what they do. (OK, except the city guards, but it's sort of a running gag that the poor sods can't catch a break and end up outdone by a horse). Every character has clear motivations, but also display subtleties you didn't expect. They have conflicted motives or emotions, and within the bounds of their personality and brains, they pursue their goals more or less rationally.

Brave does *not* have this. Every major character except the three boys breaks character, or acts in ways contrary to where the story naturally leads. These character breaks don't make things interesting or reveal new facets of the character; they just happen for no reason. There are good scenes - way more of them than the movie has a right to - but the movie undercuts them afterward. At the end of the day, the movie is insultingly stupid, as if halfway through they'd stopped trying to appeal to adults. Now, I can buy the first half of the movie, Merida being a spoiled dumbass brat and all. But the last half descends into shallow mockery of the first.
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  #148  
Old 07-18-2012, 01:13 PM
ComeToTheDarkSideWeHaveCookies ComeToTheDarkSideWeHaveCookies is offline
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I liked it better than Up, The Incredibles, and Wall-E...
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  #149  
Old 07-18-2012, 06:27 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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I liked Brave but I, too, am stunned.
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  #150  
Old 07-18-2012, 06:42 PM
NAF1138 NAF1138 is offline
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I liked Brave but I, too, am stunned.
Yeah, me too.
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