Pixar’s Brave Looks Totally Awesome

This preview poster for Pixar’s Brave, released today, makes me want to squeal with joy.

Pixar has made so many wonderful movies since 1995 but I can count on one hand how many of them have featured a strong female main protagonist: none. It looks like Brave, the story of a Scottish princess who would prefer to be an archer, will finally break the mold. It is also Pixar’s first fairy tale fantasy film and judging by the synopsis, Brave will be a bit dark:

The impetuous, tangle-haired Merida, though a daughter of royalty, would prefer to make her mark as a great archer. A clash of wills with her mother compels Merida to make a reckless choice, which unleashes unintended peril on her father’s kingdom and her mother’s life. Merida struggles with the unpredictable forces of nature, magic and a dark, ancient curse to set things right.

The poster and synopsis are essentially just code for Merida is a total badass. Thoughts on Brave? I know I will checking this out in June 2012.

Update: The teaser trailer confirms it. Brave will be totally awesome. Ginger power! Who’s with me?

Trailer Fix: Gnomeo and Juliet

I hadn’t heard of Gnomeo and Juliet, which opens this weekend, until today. It is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, where our favorite Montagues and Capulets are gnomes. I’m not surprised that there is an animated film adaptation of a Shakespearean drama or that there is now going to be an animated film featuring gnomes. But something strikes me as odd about this movie.

Gnomes are generally creepy and there doesn’t seem to be a ton of gnome humor. (Unless Emma Stone is delivering the punchline.) Seems like Gnomeo and Juliet will hit some roadblocks pretty quickly.

Watch the trailer and I ask you: cute or creepy?

One last thing. When will animators learn that you cannot tack on an Elton John song to sell your movie? It gets old.

Trailer Fix: Tangled

Disney has adopted one promotional strategy for all of its current and upcoming releases: nostalgia. We saw it used in the trailer for 2011’s Winnie the Pooh. Here it is again in the latest trailer for Tangled, released this weekend.

Tangled is Disney’s 50th animated theatrical feature and this trailer celebrates that by featuring clips from every previous Disney film. Paired with “Dreams,” a Brandi Carlile song, and you have a nostalgia-filled trailer.

BFI Southbank will screen the Disney 50 and will host a variety of events with Disney artists throughout 2011.

Review: Toy Story 3 (2010)

When I first saw the teaser trailer for Toy Story 3 back in June 2009, I was apparently not a fan of Pixar’s latest installment. Looking back, I have to wonder – what the hell was wrong with me? Having now seen Toy Story 3, I am once again glad to be the cynic who is almost always proven wrong.

Continue reading “Review: Toy Story 3 (2010)”

Preview: The Princess and the Frog

Last night when I went to see Up (review coming shortly) I saw the trailer for The Princess and the Frog

Just by judging the trailer, The Princess and the Frog looks like an amazing throwback to earlier hand-drawn Disney movies. What is more interesting to me however is the hype surrounding the film months before its December release. Princess Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose) is the first black Disney princess. Some see her as a character young girls can embrace, while others do not. 
Disney asserts that Prince Naveen, who hails from the fictional land of Maldonia and is voiced by a Brazilian actor, is not white. But critics see him as non-black. As Angela Bronner Helm, a blogger, writes: “Disney obviously doesn’t think a black man is worthy of the title of prince,” “His hair and features are decidedly non-black. This has left many in the community shaking their head in befuddlement and even rage.”

The debate surround Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen brings up an important question: Does The Princess and the Frog eliminate or promote racial stereotypes?

The New York Times ran an excellent article on Saturday that addresses this question and looks at the representation of race in past Disney films.