Last year Jax and I built a mini-Stonehenge for Midsummer (aka Summer Solstice) using paving stones in my backyard. It was a great project and a nice celebration. This year, we hope to build something larger and more permanent. We hope to build community. We will be celebrating Midsummer this year by organizing a viewing of the Disney / Pixar summer release, “Brave.”  And we’d like you to join us! All ages and all faiths are welcome!

We are planning to see a matinee on June 24th. That’s a Sunday. The time and location is TBA, but it will likely be a late morning viewing at a centrally located theater (in Austin, TX). I’ll remind you as the date gets closer. We’ll probably ask you to RSVP so we can get a head count and save seats.

If you haven’t heard about this movie, check out the trailers. It looks wonderful! And its release is so close to solstice, we couldn’t resist making a connection. Aside from the beautiful artwork and production style, this film adds to the Pixar vaults in other important ways.* Brave will be…

  • The first film released using the Dolby® Atmosâ„¢ sound system, developed to produce a “lifelike sensory experience” for viewers;**
  • The directorial debut of Enrico Casarosa in the animated short “La Luna,” which will precede the full-length feature. This short was nominated for an Oscar at the most recent Academy Awards.
  • Pixar’s first fairy tale. The story is expected to be darker and more mature than previous Pixar films, more in line with Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm than previous Pixar projects. The story is set in 10th century highlands — just as Scotland was coming into its own as a kingdom;
  • Pixar’s first production directed by a woman. Scratch that. Brenda Chapman would have been their first female director, but in October 2010, she was replaced by Mark Andrews because of creative disagreements. However, she is still credited as a director on the film and she is one of the writers;
  • Princess Merida Takes Aim

    The studio’s first girl-centric film. Merida, the lead character, is the first female protagonist in a Pixar film. Pretty cool, huh? I’m sure there will be discussions around “Brave” as “just another princess movie.”*** But writer Brenda Chapman vehemently opposes that position:

I wrote and directed BRAVE that is coming out this summer. It was absolutely my intention to subvert the princess role. There is no prince in my movie. And my princess is a true teenager in that her real “problem” (or so she thinks) is her own mother. A working mom and her daughter love story/action-adventure/fairytale. I wanted to turn the pink princesses on their heads – no pink and prince – and I’m not talkin’ the songbirds. Hope it lives up to expectation. :)” — Brenda Chapman, March 2012

We think this movie will be a lot of fun and we hope you can join us. So please mark your calendars! What do you think readers? Are you excited about this movie?



* These tidbits are taken from the Wikipedia entry for Brave, which contains spoilers (the plot is explained).

** This is listed mostly for TheScott.

*** Why do people hate on princesses?! *kidding* I’m well aware of the gender-role stereotypes that are propagated in princess movies. Even when princesses appear strong-willed, they eventually hook up with a prince and live happily ever after. And that’s a lot of hooey. Real princesses (like us), don’t hook up with princes. I mean, its not that we’re hooking up with non-princes. The men in our lives are princes — as in “he’s a real prince,” a great guy. I mean that we’re not hooking up to be happy. Okay, hooking up does make us happy, because we are normal human beings with normal needs. What I mean to say it…sheesh. I’m stopping now. This is not going where I thought it would. The real issue for me is not that she’s a princess. What I want to know is will she be a Pagan princess? Historically speaking, Scotland was in the throws of conversion to Christianity during the 10th century. I’m very curious to see if and how religion is treated in this film.

+ Featured image is available as a download from the official Disney / Pixar “Brave” site.