Tagged: Brave

Martha Thomases: Keeping Merida Merida

THomases Art 130517This has been a week of false starts for me. I read about something, get indignant, start to work up a righteous rage, and then find out that other people, just as angry, have made things better. It’s frustrating, but in a good way.

To use the example most dear to my heart, the folks who do the licensing at Disney wanted to add Merida, the main character in the Oscar-winning Brave to the line of incredibly profitable princesses in their stable. She would join Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Ariel, and the like, starring in stories, direct-to-video movies, and on theme park merchandise.

Which is all well and good in its way. Little girls sometimes like to pretend to be princesses, and Merida is a better role model than most. She stayed her own person, dealt with her own relationships, and took her own chances, without any particular obsession with her looks, her femininity, or whether or not men liked her.

It was a story that resonated with millions of people of all ages and genders. It won the Academy Award. There was no reason to mess with something that worked so well.

Except, you know, she wasn’t attractive enough. Not to the people in charge. They made her waist smaller, smoothed out her hair, and changed her outfit to show more skin. They made her sexier, at least as they defined the term.

The outrage was swift and sure. A petition went up on www.Change.org almost immediately. I signed the petition on Sunday, and by Monday, there was word that Disney was going to cave to the pressure.

I like Snow White and Belle and Ariel et. al, and I don’t want them to be interchangeable. I like my characters to be unique, as human as the creative people can make them. I loved Merida’s story because she grappled with the tensions girls have with their mothers in a way that was funny and insightful.

She didn’t need to be conventionally sexy. She needed to be herself.

In a related story, Mike Jeffries, the genius in charge of Abercrombie and Fitch, really stepped in it. According to the story in the link, Jeffries invited larger people to shop elsewhere. He said, “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.’”

Jeffries got to be his age and status without realizing that the kids who are really cool don’t give a rat’s ass what he thinks about them or what they wear. More to the point, cool kids (and parents of kids not yet in the running to be cool or uncool) want to be considered on their whole selves, not just their size. The response was swift and sure. I doubt anyone with a brain (and the disposable income that goes with having a brain) is going to be shopping at A & F anytime soon.

It’s interesting that the outrage is over discrimination, sure, but also bullying. Statements like Jeffries divide the world and stack the deck against the lower castes. And it does so in a way that commercializes sexuality, making it another commodity for sale. Just like Disney did with Merida. We send far too many messages to our children that their only value is in their sexual attractiveness. It might sell product, but it’s not healthy, especially for kids under ten.

The people, united, will never be defeated. We’re on a roll here, folks. Let’s see what we can do about this particular travesty.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

 

Martha Thomases: Where Are Our New Nerds?

In last Monday’s New York Times Media Watch columns, they ran a list of the ten films released this year that had the highest box office ion their opening weekends. What’s amazing to me is that the top five (Marvel’s The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Hunger Games, Amazing Spider-Man and Twilight: Breaking Dawn: Part 2) can all be classified in the fantasy genre, or, as I like to call it, nerd stuff.

Of the next five (Skyfall, Brave, Ted, Madagascar 3 and Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax), three are aimed primarily at children, and one is a James Bond film, which has its own separate but overlapping geek audience. Only Ted could be considered a movie aimed at what was once the wide, mainstream audience, and even then, because it is an R-rated comedy, that limits the wideness.

When did our beloved nerd culture become so dominant? I was certainly the only girl in my high school (which was all girls) who read superhero comics, and if anyone else read science fiction or fantasy, they were in the closet about it.

Even in the 1980s, when Frank Miller and Alan Moore and Art Spiegelman were publishing work that attracted mainstream media attention, there wasn’t much spillover to the medium of graphic storytelling.

When I first went to work for DC, the most common reaction I encountered when people learned what I did was, “Do they still publish those?”

For that matter, even today, the success of the movies listed above doesn’t do much for comics. There’s a history of tie-in films boosting the sale of books (for example, Gone With the Wind), but that doesn’t always overlap to your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, or comic book store.

Still, I don’t think fans like us can claim to be outsiders anymore. We might not be the cool kids, but we aren’t unwanted loners, either. What are today’s nerds about?

Is it Steampunk? Is it libertarian politics? Are there still obscure rock bands to follow, or has everything been American Idol’d to a bland pap. What distinguishes the kids getting beat up and/or ostracized today?

Besides being queer, I mean.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman and This Week’s New DC

 

First Look at Monsters University

First Look at Monsters University

We’re exactly a year away from its release, but Disney is wisely beginning to tease next June’s Monsters University with the opening of Brave on Friday. The sequel to the successful Monsters Inc. will once more feature vocal work from Billy Crystal and John Goodman, joined by Steve Buscemi, Dave Foley, Julia Sweeney, Joel Murray, and Peter Sohn. The Pixar production is being directed by Dan Scanlon.

Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but that wasn’t always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn’t stand each other. “Monsters University” unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.

Screaming with laughter and fun, Monsters University is directed by Dan Scanlon (Cars, Mater and the Ghostlight, Tracy) and produced by Kori Rae (Up, The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc.). The film opens in U.S. theaters on June 21, 2013, and will be shown in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.

Notes:

  • Monsters, Inc., originally released on November 2, 2001, was nominated for four Oscars®: Best Animated Feature Film, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing and Best Original Song—“If I Didn’t Have You,” for which it won.
  • Monsters University will hit U.S. theaters nearly 12 years after the Monsters, Inc. theatrical debut.

 

Brave Salutes Father’s Day

 

In case you missed it, Brave opens on Friday but first, they honor Father’s Day (despite the holiday not existing at the time of the film).

 

Set in the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland, Disney•Pixar’s Brave follows the heroic journey of Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald), a skilled archer and headstrong daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to change her fate, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the unruly and uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) andcantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane), unleashing chaos in the kingdom. When she turns to an eccentric Witch (voice of Julie Walters), she is granted an ill-fated wish and the ensuing peril forces Merida to harness all of her resources—including her mischievous triplet brothers—to undo a beastly curse and discover the meaning of true bravery. Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and produced by Katherine Sarafian, Brave is a grand adventure full of heart, memorable characters and signature Pixar humor. Opens on June 22, 2012, in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.

A New Trailer for Wreck-It Ralph

Now that we’re saturated in all things Brave, Disney has ratcheted up the marketing for its November 2 release of Wreck-It Ralph. Featuring the vocal talent of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, and Jane Lynch the film was directed by Rich Moore (The Simpsons).

Ralph (John C. Reilly) is tired of being overshadowed by Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer), the “good guy” star of their game who always gets to save the day. But after decades doing the same thing andseeing all the glory go to Felix, Ralph decides he’s tired of playing the role of a bad guy.  He takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a game-hopping journey across the arcade through every generation of video games to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero.

Video: ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ movie trailer

On his quest, he meets the tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch) from the first-person action game Hero’s Duty. But it’s the feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) from the candy-coated cart racing game, Sugar Rush, whose world is threatened when Ralph accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens the entire arcade.  Will Ralph realize his dream and save the day before it’s too late?

Tour Scotland: A Brave Adventure

BURBANK, Calif. (May 22, 2012) – Step out of the theater and become immersed in the world of Brave with Adventures by Disney’s first-ever Pixar-inspired itinerary, “Scotland: A Brave Adventure.” Disney•Pixar’s Brave tells the tale of the courageous Merida, the film’s headstrong teenage protagonist, who defies ancient tradition and challenges destiny to change her fate. This 9-day, 8-night quest through Edinburgh, the Isle of Skye, the Isle of Lewis and Inverness takes families through the rugged Highlands, allowing them to experience first-hand the history, culture, nature, legends and lore of Scotland that inspired Merida’s story of bravery.

Adventures by Disney is a leader in the group guided-tour industry – sharing the stories of the world through 20+ international itineraries. For “Scotland: A Brave Adventure,” Adventures by Disney’s trip-planning specialists worked directly with the expert storytellers on Pixar’s Brave production team to incorporate the castles, landscapes and legends that inspired the lush settings and memorable characters in the film – creating a Scotland experience that could only come from Disney. Guests will discover locations that inspired Pixar’s creative spark during visits to the historic Black House of Arnol and the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, both of which served as reference for the Witch’s cottage, and Dunnottar Castle, one of the inspirations for the DunBroch family’s home. (more…)

A Look at Superman’s Elite foes

In [[[SUPERMAN VS. THE ELITE]]], Superman’s effectiveness as a super hero comes into question when a new group of super powerful crusaders, known as “The Elite,” appear on the scene.  As super heroes, the Elite know no bounds, and are more than willing to kill, even on a massive scale, to stop villainy — putting them on a collision course with the ever-ethical, yet preferably non-lethal Man of Steel.

The all-new, PG-13 rated film is scripted by award-winning comics writer Joe Kelly and the story is adapted from his original 2001 DC Comics release, “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and the American Way?” The single-issue comic, Action Comics #775, was lauded by Wizard Magazine as the “Greatest Superman Story of All Time,” and ranked the epic tale at No. 21 on its list of the “Top 100 Comics of the last 30 years.”

George Newbern (Father of the Bride) reprises his Justice League animated television role as Superman, and primetime television star Pauley Perrette (NCIS) provides the voice of Lois Lane. Downes steps in as Manchester Black, leader of The Elite. David Kaufman (Justice League: Doom) also reprises his Justice League TV series role as Jimmy Olsen.

The film is directed by Michael Chang (Batman: Brave and the Bold). Bruce Timm (Batman: Year One) is executive producer, and Alan Burnett (Green Lantern: Emerald Knights) is producer.

The Sound of Brave

The Disney marketing machine is geared up and in full throttle for next month’s debut of Pixar’s Brave. The focus this week appears to be on the music for the film.

Take a look at “Freedom Broch” – 19 Classic Bagpipe Hits in One Compilation!

Then check out this press release regarding the soundtrack:

BURBANK, Calif. (May 21, 2012) – Disney•Pixar’s epic fantasy adventure Brave harnesses the magic of ancient Scotland, weaving the rich natural setting throughout the story and bringing it to life with sophisticated filmmaking and extraordinary performances. But it’s the music of Brave that ties it all together, elevating the authenticity with a fresh and contemporary approach to Oscar®-nominated composer Patrick Doyle’s score, as well as two original songs performed by lauded Scottish Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis. A third original song plays during the film’s epilogue and is performed by UK singing sensation Birdy with British folk rock band Mumford & Sons. Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and produced by Katherine Sarafian, Brave hits theatres on June 22, 2012. The film’s soundtrack from Walt Disney Records will be available June 19, 2012. (more…)

Take a Closer Look at Pixar’s Brave

Brave will be out in June so Disney is cranking up the publicity machine. Here are some concept sketches to give you more of an idea about the filme, featuring Pixar’s first heroine.

MERIDA (Voice of Kelly Macdonald)

Passionate and fiery, Merida is a headstrong teenager of royal upbringing who is struggling to take control of her own destiny. She feels most at home in the outdoors honing her impressive athletic skills as an archer and swordfighter, and racing across the magnificent Highland countryside with her faithful horse, Angus. With a spirit as vibrant as her untamed hair, Merida also has a softness of heart, especially when it comes to her wee triplet brothers. As the daughter of the King and Queen, her life is weighted with responsibilities and expectations, causing her to yearn to preserve her freedom and independence. When Merida blatantly defies an ancient tradition, the consequences of her actions prove disastrous for the kingdom. She must race against time to make right the result of her reckless behavior, her journey compelling her to look inside to discover the meaning of bravery and reveal her true fate.

ANGUS

Black as night with ivory muzzle and fetlocks, Angus is Merida’s powerful Clydesdale and her most trusted confidant. Angus is Merida’s escape from castle life into the deep forest and the highlands beyond. Merida target shoots from her perch on his broad back and is able to coax him into one adventure after another. Angus can be balky, stubborn and faint-hearted at times, but is ultimately a devoted and faithful friend to Merida.


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