Pixar released their first official poster and trailer for their first-ever fairy tale, "Brave" this week, and it's getting good and excited feedback from audiences across the board.
"Brave" is a good word for this movie for many reasons: it's Pixar's first fairy tale, it's their first female lead, it's about a pro-active and strong girl who's main storyline is to do with expectations (especially her mother's) and challenging her destiny and she's not your average Disney princess. One of the things that has critics most excited is "we may also have the first Disney princess movie that doesn’t see our princess hitched by the time credits are rolling" (quote from Forbes).
While "Brave" is not based on any one fairy tale we will no doubt see the influences of many fairy tales and folktales throughout. (eg. Merida bears quite a resemblance to "Brave Margaret", a traditional Irish heroine [not Scottish, like Pixar's heroine Merida] who is kept busy fighting beasts and saving people)*. The creator, Brenda Chapman, (who was also Pixar's first female director until she was replaced over creative differences) says she developed the project out of a love of the stories of Hans Christian Andersen, the tales of the Brothers Grimm and her reflections on raising a daughter.
Brave fairy tale heroines are nothing new, of course, but that's not usually the public perception of fairy tale females. Fortunately we are seeing more and more beautifully published collections of 'strong girls' stories (see the covers below), including some designed to share with children as an alt to the 'princess-awaiting-her-prince-and-castle' collections. I see a rise in the demand for these sorts of books coming on the heels of Pixar's movie release, if it is indeed what they're touting it to be (writers start your engines, er laptops!). We definitely need more of these tools.
As an aside, doesn't this almost feel like a wonderful companion piece to "How to Train Your Dragon" movie? I truly appreciated the strong boy's tale approach which went beyond the 'get-yourself-a-weapon-and-kill-the-monster-till-it's-dead' mentality.
I'm looking forward to seeing what "Brave" will become.
* You can read a review of "Brave Margaret" HERE.
"Brave Martha and the Dragon", a French story about a girl - Saint Martha - also bears some similarities. You can see the book HERE.