As Grace's promised reward for sleeping all night in her own bedroom (for the first time in over 4 years--see this post on that crazy event) we went to see the new Disney/Pixar movie Brave. I thought this was the perfect fit because we could talk about how brave she had been to sleep in her own bed, just like the princess was brave in the movie.
Now I am not a frequent movie reviewer, mostly because I only see about 10 movies a year and many of them involve talking vegetables. But I just had to throw my two cents in about this film because quite frankly it could have lead to a very disasterous afternoon for me and Grace.
Grace was extremely excited about our trip to movies. We've only been to the theatre with her once before so this was a very special occasion. I let her pick out any over-priced candy she wanted, got her a cup of soda, and let her choose our seats.
By the time the 3000 previews had ended she was getting pretty fidgety. So was I quite frankly. Before the feature there was a charming little animated short film called La Luna. I loved it, Grace loved it. It made you feel all warm and fuzzy and magicial. It turned out to be much better than the movie.
Brave was a very uncomfortable viewing experience for Grace. I won't go into a lot of plot details, because I'm sure you've seen a ton of advertising for it, but my big beef with the movie was that is was way too scary, way too violent. In the first few minutes of the film there is a big scary bear attack in which her father loses his leg. Seriously. Loss of limb to wild animals is pretty scary stuff in my book. At least for the 5 year old sitting next to me it was. After about 20 minutes into the movie Grace leaned over and told me she did not like it. I moved her onto my lap for the rest of the movie and she was just one ball of tense throughout. The mom and daughter sitting next to me did the same thing about 10 minutes later, but her poor daughter was actually crying.
We managed to get through the film which, of course, has a happy ending. Grace left the theatre sort of quiet and pensive, but we went to Hobby Lobby and bought some craft supplies and that brightened her back up. Hovever, I know for sure that when this movie comes out on DVD she will not be begging for us to buy it.
The thing that irritates me the most about this and many "children's" animated films is that they are marketed at a much younger audience than they are appropriate for. So much violence in a movie for small children makes me so angry. Yes, I know it was rated PG, but I still felt it was over the top. At least from my kids perspective. Please don't try to sell them dolls and princess dresses with a movie that is just going to leave them frightened and upset!
It also fell a little flat on plot line. It did not have the fabulous music, adventure, and love story of Tangled. It did not have the humor or cleverness of How to Train Your Dragon (though it had all the same stereotypical Viking characters). Yes, it had a strong princess who didn't depend on a prince to save her, something that Disney has been criticized for before, but it didn't have a lot of the other wonderful stuff that it needed. I had a similar problem with The Princess and the Frog. I liked a lot about that movie, but the voodoo element scares my kids and they won't watch.
So I guess it's back to singing tomatoes for our family. Anyone up for a movie night featuring Lord of the Beans?