Brave

I’ve just returned from viewing the latest Pixar film, Brave.  And I must say, it’s excellent.  Not quite as wonderful as I found The Incredibles – I am always somewhat annoyed when actual folk tales/beliefs are distorted for the convenience of unfamiliar and ignorant audiences, and a magical tale of old Caledonia has a context from which the movie can depart, as opposed to a story set in a quasi-realistic alternate present/near future – but quite enjoyable.

The story and music are great.  What I couldn’t help but have my attention drawn to is the hair.  Hair is incredibly difficult to simulate and render electronically – the way it interacts with light, each strand carries its own problems.  I was especially put in mind of the ‘gag reel’ from Incredibles and the various problems they had getting Violet’s hair to fall properly.  They did quite well rendering Merida’s curls, although I suspect they used certain shortcuts in doing so, clumping strands into curly patterns and then rendering those patterns rather than calculating each individual hair.

I read several reviews of the film before seeing it, and I can’t understand the complaints about Merida’s unviability as a role model.  The story clearly portrays the short-sighted and careless things she does as disastrous – too much so, to my point of view, stressing that “individual selfishness” is necessarily a bad thing, and ignoring the reality that ‘selfish’ has a positive meaning, too.  I can’t help but think that these moralizing statements in Pixar’s films are meant to pacify and subdue the corporate watchdogs whose approval is required.

There’s a lovely but peculiarly non-comedic short before the main film titled “La luna”, and those who wait through the end credits will be rewarded with the long-awaited dropping of the other shoe.  (You’ll know what I mean.)

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