Movie Monday: Brave Expectations

Finally, in a packed theater on Friday afternoon, I sat and watched the long-awaited flick of the summer: Brave. The audience ooed and awwed at the stellar animation and daring courage of a girl pushing the boundaries of what it means to be strong. Although it’s a familiar story, they don’t call things classic for no reason.

Overall I really enjoyed it. There was a good balance of action, humor, sentiment, and lesson that made it a very engaging movie. Plus, the main character Merida is a wonderful example of a quirky, independent individual who doesn’t fit the princess mold and is easily relatable to young girls.

Now I am completely biased when it comes to Disney and Pixar, but the reviews and other ratings still agree with me that this was a pretty good movie. The one recurring negative comment I found was that in comparison to other Pixar films this one was sub-standard and “safe.” Honestly, I think that is a result of people holding Pixar to a ridiculously high standard. It is understandable to expect a lot from the company that created hits like the Toy Story trilogy, Finding Nemo, and Cars, but what is actually realistic?

Audiences have grown to expect everything that comes out of Pixar to be outstanding, not just good for a kids movie, but a well-written monument of perfection. I think that is a little ridiculous. After all you don’t expect every piece of art from an artist to be a masterpiece, and we certainly don’t expect every song from a musician to be a hit. Yet, the situation with Pixar reflects a trend of high-maintenace expectations that are growing to be ubiquitous in western culture. Those high expectations aren’t just in the movie industry either, they surround us in schools, jobs, and I daresay, even the church.

It is a ripple effect probably centered in Hollywood, that Pixar is a prime example of, but the concepts of grace and understanding seem to be losing ground in our world. One low grade in school and that perfect college is now out of reach. One mistake at work and a chance at promotion flies out the window. One sin worse than “average” (which doesn’t really exist) or bigger than a misdemeanor and suddenly you aren’t welcome in church anymore. You might be allowed to sit in the back row, but no one is going to acknowledge your presence or look at you the same.

I understand that there are exceptions to these situations (praise God for that), but we have to admit that we aren’t a very forgiving society. We create these expectations that are bound to fall short, but when they do we blame anyone else but ourselves. I also fall in to this trap sometimes, but I have found that the only time I can really expect greatness 100% of the time is with God.

In the end, the movie Brave might not have been as great as some other Pixar productions, but it is a great movie for anyone who is still a child at heart. Ironically, the end lesson is also one of forgiveness, one that requires two people to understand each other in a new way and meet in the middle. The story line might be familiar, but that’s because it is a classic tale that will always be true – similar to the story of a God who always forgives us. And that’s a story I want to root for.

 Did any of you see the movie yet – what did you think?

Is it fair to have such high expectations of Pixar? what about of God?

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