Here it is! At least four weeks late but worth every second I spent not writing it. 🙂 A lot of people are very psyched up for the coming attraction from that great Pot of Gold that is Pixar, particularly as it is the first film of theirs to feature a female director. But honestly after watching this trailer, I have to say I am worried about what direction they are taking it. At least from this small sampling, I can see a few problems that make me anxious about the film overall, but you be the judge. Without further delay, enjoy this trailer for Pixar’s upcoming feature: Brave.
First and foremost, let me clarify that I thought this was a decent trailer. I just feel that the source material makes for some tough stuff to work with. Anyway, let’s get into the analysis.
I absolutley lost it in the very first few seconds. I recognized the voice of the father figure, giving a terrifying and ominous tale of his adventures, and all I could think of was this (link). 🙂 That’s right! Ol’ Captain Billy Bones himself, right out of Muppet Treasure Island! And, while I’m on the subject, let me take this opportunity to shamelessly plug my recent review of The Muppets over on the Soontobeangel blog.
Basically I would say that the first 40 seconds were absolutely fantastic. It was a gripping and engaging teaser for what looked to be a dark and serious story, which is a genre that has been almost entirely absent in the world of animation (save a few artistic French films and, to a degree, Miyazaki’s work). That is a film I would pay serious money to go see – animated Braveheart with a warrior-chick protagonist. All they had to do was add in a really macabre laugh right after the jump to black and then slowly bring up the title and we all would have been sold (expect for mothers of kids 10 and under). Personal preference, I know, but let me get to that shortly.
The rest of the trailer consists of showing us most of Act One and the turn to Act two, along with nearly every good joke in between. There are some really funny things in there but yet again we end up seeing quite a lot of the movie before we actually go see it. What I will credit the trailer’s makers with is the choice to reveal a lot of the beginning and leave most of the tail end of the film off. Though we see too much in the trailer, we see too much exposition and not too much of the entire story, so kudos to them for that.
At 1:21 we get an express statement of the central question: “Are you willing to pay the price (for your ‘freedom’ from your culturally-held role in society)?” And that is exactly what is potentially very wrong about the film. The trailer gives us a glimpse at the fact that this film is going to be trying to blend several serious issues with the typical Disney slapstick, which I really don’t think works. That mix of silliness and seriousness seems very odd to me. We alternately get a vision of a strong, independent young woman and a series of rather pathetically crass jokes very typical of Disney. It bothers me that they have such potential to negotiate gender roles (and in a foreign culture no less!) and instead they choose to fall back into the comedic and stereotypical images of people they are so infamous for. Instead of a woman able to advance as an individual we get a Kilt joke and silly bears.
By the way, that was my least favorite part of the trailer. Yes, of course the three little bear cubs are incredibly cute and you just want to take them home and treat them like a stuffed animal, but that whole sequence just stands to show exactly what I mean about the film neglecting seriousness potential in favor of cheap jokes. And what’s worse – the woman doesn’t even react when she runs into the wall! She just has this dumb “I am a bit character and you just saw the entirety of my purpose in this film” look about her and I cringe a little inside because it could have been so much more! Again I will say that it works well in the trailer, but I suspect that it will fall very flat in the actual movie.
Okay. I want to make it perfectly clear that I like this trailer – it is funny and cute and makes me want to see the film. What worries me is that I see a real struggle of genres and motifs in the trailer that make me anxious about how the film will play out. Not to be rude, but didn’t we already have a silly viking/old world, coming-of-age-story film (How to Train Your Dragon)? The mix of seriousness and silliness is a bit much, so I don’t really know what to expect. “If you had the chance to change your fate, would you?” – that kind of question being asked along with negotiation of women’s rights and empowerment, yet we get silly Scottish people. Honestly I feel like this is what happens when Skyrim meets Tangled — and I am really not sure that it works.
Final Rating: 3.5//5
Yup! Thus ends my Celtic Review Extravaganza! Not so extravagant, I know but as you can see we had a beautiful juxtaposition of good and bad storytelling, or at least of the good and questionable. Anyway, I really hope the film comes out well as I would hate to see Pixar fall from that pinnacle of the Animated world, though with films like The Secret of Kells (link to review), I might just be willing to let that happen. I definitely plan to go see it when it debuts in theaters but I must say I will be going in with a lot of apprehension. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Next week I will be taking a hack at the trailer for Illumination Entertainment’s latest picture: The Lorax. I have to admit that as a kid the story freaked me out quite a bit, so I think it will be really interesting to revisit it now that I have grown up a bit. So, join me next Friday for another Art of the Trailer!