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Guest Post by Victoria Findley: Review of the Movie “Brave”

Synopsis:

A tale of a fiery headed princess determined to be independent of any authority at any cost.

Summary (spoilers)

Merida is the eldest daughter of a King and Queen Elinor. Father rescued her from an evil bear at an early age. She is taught school and ladyhood by her mother and taught how to shoot an arrow, fight, hunt and ride by her father. Her mother tells her how important her marriage is to unify the clans and tells the story of a brother that destroyed others because he refused to work in unity with his brothers. However, she rejects the proposals by suitors from other clans. Her mother and father (who thinks the young men are not worth much, rightly so, but still knows the clans must be united as promised by marriage) have set them up for her. She defeats their plan  by winning the archery contest to deny any suitors.

Merida and her mother fight, refusing to listen to each other, causing the daughter to destroy a tapestry of the family. The mother in anger threw Merida’s bow into the fire. Daughter runs off in anger, mother angry, but pulls bow out of the fire. Instead of the daughter repenting, she follows spirits/wisps (aka fate changers) and makes a deal with a witch to change her mother. the witch gave her a potion for her mother to eat. Meanwhile Father hosts the deserted men and clans, while the daughter tricks her mother by offering the food as a peace offering, which turns her mother into a bear. Because her father hates bears because of the evil bear that attack them early on, the daughter sneaks her mother/bear out of the castle while father and clans chase them around. Meanwhile her triplet brothers eat remains of the food and also turn into bears. The daughter still insists the whole time that she hasn’t done anything wrong. Daughter tries to find the witch again in order to turn her mom back. Meanwhile her mother feels so helpless as a bear since she was anti-weapons, fighting or hunting, since it she considered it ‘unladylike’. The daughter finds the witch’s house but the witch is not there and leaves a message that unless she remembers these words: “Fate be change, mend the bond, torn by pride” her mother’s fate will be permanent.

While mother bear and daughter hide in the rainy woods, daughter remembers the love mom had shown. Mother and daughter bond as daughter teaches her how to survive and not to be too dependent on being proper in the woods. However mom is slowly turning into a real bear on the inside. Wisps show up again and show mother and daughter the old and fallen home of brothers from the story her mom told earlier. Then daughter realizes that the big evil bear that her father hates used to be the oldest brother. He had also gone to the witch and asked her to give him the strength of ten men so she turned him into a bear. The bear was at the ruins and chased them off.

The daughter realized that tapestry was the bond that was broken (torn by pride) and needed to be mended. Mother and daughter get back to the castle and the daughter skillfully talked to the clans like a lady. They were were beginning to fight among themselves because she did not give an answer yet. She reminded them that they chose to be united because of friendship and loyalty not just because of marriages. However, father finds mama bear, not knowing it was his wife and chased it down. Mother and father fight off evil bear and spell is broken when Merida says “I’m sorry and it was all my fault.”. The sons and Merida all agree to only marry for love providing the clans agree to stay united otherwise and they do.

Objectionable parts: some male nudity (butts), traditions were made to be broken, follow your heart instead, father and other men come off as nutcases and goofballs, being a lady is overrated.

Excellent parts: daughter admits she was wrong and has to work hard to change the consequences, parents love each other and their children, father is the leader of the family and clans do respect him, hunting and weapons are not bad, making deals with a witch is dangerous, excellent 3-D animations, parents may be hard but they love their children, repentance is the first step to fixing serious problems.

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Review of Prince of Persia the Movie

This is a review of the recent movie Prince of Persia starring Jake Gyllenhaal, not the video game series. WARNING! There are spoilers, since this is an older movie, but if you want to watch the movie first, go ahead. Then come back and read this. In the light of our current political situation and the country’s economic troubles, I think the desert dwellers’ philosophy is especially worth remembering.

1. Prayer and holy things are treated with respect and there are serious consequences for mistreating them. Even though it’s a religion with false elements, both the princess and the king are shown to be strong and respected leaders because they pray and honor what they believe is holy.

2. Dastan could have been portrayed as a drunk or a womanizer when he was absent from the call to the conference about the proposed attack. But he was instead testing his fighting skills and winning his men’s respect and love by spending time with them and even letting them clean his clock.

3. The princess could have been sold into sexual slavery. Despite the skimpy outfit, she merely became a waitress.

4. The desert dwellers could have been running a bloody arena. Instead they held ostrich races. And by the way, they said they didn’t pay taxes because they didn’t believe they should support a government which wanted to steal all they had and kill them. Simple, sound political wisdom in my book.

5. Time travel worked, for once, and was limited in scope and importance. The evil uncle wanted the dagger for a single purpose Dastan was able to discern. Dastan used the dagger for good reasons, and respected the limitations and dangers once he understood them. He was also willing to risk death and even failure to make things come right, relying on his brother’s character to do the right thing as well.

6. Family love, honor and trust where essential elements of the story. Dastan would never be king, but he never sought his own advancement. He was horrified to think his uncle would throw away a home, a family and love for selfish ambition.

7. A black man, a minor character, was given a role of extraordinary importance and showed incredibly noble character without making a point of being a black man. I dare anyone to dismiss him as a “magic negro.” He trained and prepared, developing unsurpassed skill and performed a vital service no one else could do.

8. Dastan went right back to the point where he still had to make a choice about doing what was right. The city had fallen, yes, but the important choices were still to be made, the real wrong still to be righted and prevented. And he didn’t even hesitate.

9. The princess had to stop lying and tell the complete truth before she could get the help she needed. 10. The uncle is a Satan figure. He realizes the mistake he made by saving his brother’s life in the past. The devil realizes he a mistake by the death of Christ. Both want to go back and change the past to
increase their power.

On the downside,

1. People still have to “trust their feelings” to make fundamental decisions and “search their hearts” instead of the Scriptures.

2. The flood history is indeed butchered again. Especially because Noah wasn’t chosen for his purity but because of God’s grace, and because the “salvation” for the people in the movie was conditional upon future behavior or somebody innocent would have to pay.

3. “Gun control” rules in the sacred city because there are no weapons forges. Peace depends on taking away people’s right to bear arms.

4. The princess confuses sarcasm and feminism with spunk and leadership and tries to lie to get her way.

5. Lots of reasoned deception and “peasant cunning” prevailing over straightforward honesty.

6. “I believe we make our own destiny.” No, we don’t, and frankly the movie proves the opposite point, since Dastan is rewarded for obedience and hard work, loyalty, perseverance and courage in the responses of everyone he interacted with, not for his rebellion against the way things were going.

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