What Would You Ask of The Wizard of Oz?

Multifarious Day 1
Brave, n. A hector, a man daring beyond discretion or decency.
(Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, 1861)

Brave, the movie (Minor Spoilers)
Image Credit: Pixar/Disney
I’m usually both outraged and amused by the definitions I find in my 150-something year old dictionary. More than once, I’ve asked myself, “How did these people figure that one out?” The same thoughts crossed my mind while I was watching Brave. I’m telling you, my Wicked Darlings, whoever titled that movie might have been going for the bit about “daring beyond… decency;” at least when it comes to theme and plot.  

I was extremely excited when I watched the first trailer. I might have screamed, “Yay archery and gutsy girls!” But you know what? Archery and guts don’t have a lot to do with the movie. The main theme revolves around mother-daughter relationships and the importance of duty. Wonderful conflicts, right? I would say yes, but don’t get too excited because the solutions to the trouble get lost in a world of ineffective metaphors, undeveloped characters, unidentified motivation and a storyline that goes nowhere.

The worst bit about the movie is what I expected to be the best part: the way the main character uses her archery skills. If like me, you read about the movie and watched trailers, you probably expected Merida’s bow and arrow to be significant for the entire movie. They aren’t. She does some cutesy things with her little weapon, but in the end in order to bring about the so called resolution, our heroine has to be a good little girl and patch her mistakes with needle, thread and a torrent of tears.     

Celebrate Oz (July 19th)
I know Oma Linda’s party doesn’t start for three weeks, but I needed something yummy to remove the bad taste Brave left in my mouth. Here are some lines to put everyone in a special Oz kind of mood that can only be achieved through the words of the main character in Christopher Moore’s Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. He explains what he would be yearning for if he ever traveled the Yellow Brick Road:
“Oh, I would while away the hours,
Wanking in the flowers, my heart all full of song,
I’d be gliding all the lilies as I waved about my willie,
If I only had a schlong.”

I’m not sure what I would ask for if I ever visited The Wizard of Oz. Hm… I guess if I did it right after watching Brave, I would probably want children movies where evil witches had some kind of motivation, where their pet crows were deranged for an actual reason, where bravery meant courage and not random bratty behavior, where characters that are supposed to be intelligent and imaginative didn’t act like slow-witted sheep, and pretty much for films that didn’t perpetuate damaging stereotypes that do nothing but promote ignorance.

What would you ask of The Wizard of Oz, my Wicked Luvs?

P.S. Have you read “Crabapples”? If not, take a moment to do so, and to enter my latest giveaway ;-) 

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47 comments:

  1. If I met the Great Oz and could ask for one thing it would be to have the power to stop all cruelty for man and beast.

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    1. And I would ask him to grant your wish.

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  2. So disappointing when the film makers promise strong female characters and then they fall into the "little Princess" merchandising trap :S Changed my mind 3 times already on my project for Oma's challenge lol....I guess I'm a bit of a scarecrow lol :D XXX

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    1. Disappointing and terribly annoying. Maybe one of these days the surprise will be backwards *sigh*

      Changed your mind? How? What's going on. Spill woman lol

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  3. I would ask to come back, in my next life, as a beautiful woman with great swinging and pendulous breasts.

    A Brazilian woman or a Spanish woman maybe.

    Just once.

    To see what all the fuss us about.

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    1. "great swinging and pendulous breasts," huh? I hope the woman you has good sports bras; running with ginormous pendulous breasts can be a painful bit. Not to mention that there is always the possibility of self-inflicted black eyes ;-)

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    2. Bwahahahahaha!

      Awe.

      But on the whole boobs are a hoot right?

      They look like so much fun....

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    3. Of course boobs are a hoot, they aren't called fun bags for nothing ;-)

      They are called fun bags, right?

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  4. I would ask the Wizard for a mermaids tale, so I could finally spend all my days in the ocean!!!! Either that or bigger hair.

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    1. Bigger hair! I think Militant Queer is sending out vibes. I know he wished for bigger hair, too lol

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  5. Hilarious poem from Biff!! So it's too bad we can't get a decent movie with truly "brave" heroines. A request for the Wizard? A gift for languages. I would love to be able to speak several. I still don't have an idea for Oz, though I am thinking it is going to have something to do with the Scarecrow.

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    1. How wonderful it would be to be able to fully understand all tongues--animals and trees included.

      Yay scarecrow!

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  6. That is so disappointing to read that really sucks big time. Well I really don't have anything to ask the Wizard for.

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  7. That's a very interesting critique on Brave. I agree with you on the title, the marketing of the archery, the misconception by the promotion that it was going to be about a strong woman figure. But since I had just had a rowe with Shelley and have felt "unlistened to" as a Mom for so long. I actually loved that the "heroine" figured out that acting like a selfish brat, doing what you what and never looking back to see the wake you leave for everyone else that this story had an excellent message for ungrateful grown children everywhere. You gonna have a price to pay...if not today then someday. We call it the mothers curse here. "you don't know what it's like until your own stab you in the back" or when your kids are little they step on your feet, when they get older they step on your heart.
    The poem is fabulous. I want to write in Willie as a new character for Celebrate Oz. Hope you don't mind my old lady take on the movie. xoxo Oma Linda

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    1. The mom protecting the child is excellent, as is the way in which the boys help their bit sister. My problem comes around the fact that Merida doesn't really "show" that she has learned and that she has a mind of her own. You love Shelley with all your heart, no one has to tell me that, and as any parent, your heart wants nothing but the best for her. Within that best, and I'm sure of this, comes the desire to see your child learn with her own head. If Merida had solved her problems with her own wit (i.e. using her legendary bow and arrow and perhaps a bit of string to repair the tapestry) I would have been screaming with delight, but she does what she is told ONLY because she is sorry, not because she really wants to; at least that is not shown.

      Another thing that really bothered me is how she fought her father to protect her mother. If she had had any brains she would have spoken to her father while there was time--the movie shows that she trusted him and there was plenty of opportunity. But what does she do? She raises a sword to her daddy, whom by the way happens to be a wonderful man. Even at the end of the movie, Merida and her mom are shown doing things together, but still they haven't discuss the monster issue. What will happen next time the other doesn't listen? You and I, grown women, will know that talking is usually best. A child might deduce that okay, I will just listen and do as I'm told. That is a great concept, but when does the child learn to believe in his or her own judgement? What happens to be child when mom is not there to tell, protect and love? Who will be guiding him or her?

      I'm sure, and I say this because it is how I feel about my boy, that as a parent you want your child to do what is best for her. But the best comes when they take your teachings and spice it up with their own critical thinking and experience, and make you proud by showing you the best bits of you and of themselves.

      About Willie, you would have to ask Christopher Moore, that was quote directly from his book. Oh, my adored Oma Linda, if you haven't read him, you must. The man is brilliant, funny and so full of our kind of wisdom ;-)

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  8. I have to add that it was about a strong woman.....the Mother. She fought her way back to be who all mothers are called to be, protective of their children. Joe can hardly wait to hear what you have to say.
    xoxo OMa Linda

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    1. That is great, but the thing is that the movie is not intended for adults. The main character is Merida, not mom. The bravery should have been hers. She should have been the one saving the day, after learning from the teachings of her mom. And that little speech in the hall or the little stitching doesn't quite cut it. And again, the bit about her raising a sword to her father, after she had ample time to speak to him... I don't know, I just find it disturbing. If they had shown the dad as a deaf piece of garbage, then by all means, beat him up a little. But solving the issue with iron is not the best message to send to a child. Not at an age when punches and kicks make much more sense than communicating our problems. Fighting because you weren't intelligent enough to avoid it isn't bravery, it is just desperation.

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    2. Now I want to know what Joe has to say lol

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  9. I personally liked the movie and the gender rolls don't bother me. It stuck to what would have been expected for the time period. Anything less would have been inaccurate and an injustice to history. I see her not using the bow and taking up the needle and thread as putting away childish things and stepping up as the adult she was raised to be.

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    1. I had no trouble with the gender roles at all. I don't think I said anything about that. I argued storytelling, plot, theme and resolution. I won't say much about the inaccuracy or injustice done to history, for if I start speaking of historical facts when it comes to movies, I might have a stroke lol. And my problem is not the she uses the needle and thread, it is that the bow and arrow are just used as a meaningless prop, but the movie's publicity makes it seem like it is the center of the movie's universe. I don't care for that.

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  10. It's unusual for a Disney-Pixar movie to be so disappointing. Now I want to watch it so I can find out if I agree with your opinions...

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    1. I would be really interested to read your response to the movie, Tori. You are a writer, so I'm sure you will pay attention to the storytelling. Do tell me how you feel about the way the movie deals with the multiple conflicts, metaphors and elements like the bow and arrow.

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  11. What would I ask the Wizard of Oz for? Hmmmmm, that requires some thinking ....

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  12. Ooh another party I'd not heard of, I like the sound of the OZ one will have to think about it. Then again I keep trying to think about yours dear Magaly but I've only got just over a day to come up with something and nothings coming to mind so far. Not got a significant other or ever likely to have one. All well I'll keep thinking.

    Now what would I ask the wizard for, first it would be an end to cruelty to animals and hatred between mankind then if I got to be cheeky and ask for something for myself it would be for some extra energy.

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    1. 12 more hours of thinking time ;-)

      I hope you join Oma Linda's party. I love the way people come up with wonderful things, while keeping the theme.

      If you get extra energy, do give me some!

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  13. Oh wow, I'm glad I read your critique ~ I would have been sorely disappointed with Brave. I'll still see it but just not with the heart full of expectations I would have. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who grew up longing for a bow to play with, sadly they weren't 'in' back then.

    Ah and as for Oz?? Well... since the melody of "If I Only Had a Brain" always seemed to ramble through my mind toward the end of my marriages, I imagine I would wish for one ~ or better yet... a husband with one. ;-)
    ♥Sharon

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    1. I hope you watch it and tell me about how you feel. I wonder if I'm so disappointed because I was expecting too much.

      "If my husband only had a brain," lol

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  14. I'm very sad to hear about Brave. I was so looking forward to an amazing story. Bummer. Hmm, what would I wish from the Wizard? I always thought it would be super cool to have telekinesis so I can clean house with a wave of my hand LOL.

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    1. Well, when you watch it, if you do, tell me how you feel. You might not share my views, you know?

      And if you get your telekinesis wish, would you please wash my car? The poor MINI is filthy!

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  15. Well, I have to disagree with your assessment of Brave, having just seen it for the second time. Yes, it's a Disney princess film but she changes everything. first, she is strong willed, smart, and stands up for herself and what she wants even if she does use a spell which backfires on her from selfishness and not thinking or rather not expressing exactly what she wants. second, she acquires skill with weapons as well as statesmanship, the thing her mother was teaching her and she didn't realize the value of til the kingdom was on the verge of destruction. third, she takes responsibility for her actions and does what is necessary to repair the damage she has caused. fourth, she uses her skills with weapons to fight her father and protect her mother. and fifth, she does not, in the end, bow to tradition but saves the kingdom, does not submit to marriage by being 'bought' but rather institutes the process by which young people will choose their own mates, and accepts her responsibility towards the kingdom she is destined to rule. sounds like a very strong and capable young woman to me, not a helpless maiden rescued by some man. No man helped her accomplish all that at all. That she learns the value of her mother's teachings and also the value of the love of family in no way makes her a weak person. I loved it.

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    1. My problem with the movie has nothing to do with Merida not doing exactly what was expected of her or learning from her mother, as a matter of fact I do mention that the main theme of the movie revolves around mother-daughter relationships and duty. My issue is with the storytelling. Merida acts smart when is convenient (When she has time to explain to her dad what is going on, she doesn't, and in the movie this lack is explained by "but he is the bear king!"). The father, in the same way, seems to be a very intelligent man (Mom and dad discuss conversation techniques to use with the daughter. Yet, when communication really counts dad forgets about everything). The reason why I have the biggest problem with the bow is because it has been advertised as the symbol of the movie, but is it really? She uses it for about five minutes, yay skills! but, and here is where we will disagree the most, she has to fix the damage by sewing something together and then apologizing in tears. I have no problem with crying--we all do it. And I wouldn't have an issue with the sewing either, if the mending of the tapestry hadn't been the ending metaphor.

      I felt that in the end her strong will, smarts, skills with weapons, independence... are shadowed by the fact that what fixes everything is sewing—a craft mainly attributed to women.

      Again, the world is wonderful place because we learn with our own heads, are willing to share our opinions, and become wiser by understanding that all notions don't need to match.

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  16. I have never heard of the movie Brave! I guess I won't be seeing it! LOL! What would I ask the Wizard of Oz? If I could ask him for more than one thing ;o) Am I greedy? LOL! Hugs ;o)

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    1. You should give it a go, other people have liked. It is just not for me.

      I think I would ask for a bunch of stuff, too. We are just needy lol

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  17. see, I didn't get that at all. she had to sew the tapestry back together because that was the physical manifestation of what she had ruined. the tapestry was the symbol of her family just as the carved stone was the symbol of the four brothers which was not repaired, thus the oldest became the immortal bear Marduh. sewing the tapestry back together, and doing a poor job of it while she raced to save her mother, did not in any way overshadow her strength (and why shouldn't she use a skill mostly done by women if that was the tool that was needed at the moment?) because the simple mending of the tapestry did not break the spell. What broke the spell was her heart felt apology for all the damage she had caused (because up until that moment, she had not taken responsibility for what happened, she blamed the witch, or the spell, or her mother) and the forgiveness she received. that's what broke the spell. that's what mended the rift. and that is strength also, to be able to accept responsibility for the consequences of your actions and apologize and to be able to forgive because the mother and daughter both had to mend the rift, not just Merida. and really, how could she have explained anything to her father, who didn't believe in magic and was in a total state of fear and rage at the thought that his wife had been eaten by a bear that was even then escaping. had they sat down and had a nice little father daughter chat at that moment, it would have been so outside of human behavior as to have been ridiculous. and, she did use her bow repeatedly. she used it to shoot at Marduh many times to protect herself and her mother at the ruined castle and the circle of stones, she used it to fish to feed themselves, she used it to shoot the sword out of her father's hand, she used a sword to fight her father. when else would she have had cause to use a bow in a kingdom at peace? she used it for fun and practice and then she used it without hesitation when faced with danger.

    I totally agree that most of the Disney princesses are not the kind of role models that I would want for my daughters, helpless maidens that need a man to save them. But this one was so different. I don't think women need to eschew traditionally women's skills in order to be strong, capable, and independent. One minor womanly act, the stitching back together of the tapestry, certainly did not negate all the other stuff. women's skills are strengths too.

    and even if it was as you say, that 'in the end her strong will, smarts, skills with weapons, independence... are shadowed by the fact that what fixes everything is sewing—a craft mainly attributed to women.', why can't a woman save the day using a skill done mostly by women? why does that make her less strong, independent, and smart? why does that make her not 'brave'?

    so, I'm not criticizing you just continuing the conversation.

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    1. Yesterday, a very smart man and his wife told me that different experiences will make us see the world in different ways and through differently-colored glasses. I won’t try to pressure you to see the movie the way I do, just like you shouldn’t take the time to do so with me because you won’t be able to.

      There are occasions when theories and arguments get to a point where we just have to agree to say that we understand why the other thinks the way she does, and move on to other topics; perhaps to the same topic from a different angle… maybe one in which we are both third parties and neutral. I’m sure we’ll get another opportunity to discuss the same issue. For I have the feeling that this might not be one where we can walk any kind of middle grown together.

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  18. I wish I had read this earlier! I just bought tickets online to see it with my Miss 5. I really was excited for her to see a strong female character. The plot you describe is not the one I thought I was going to be seeing. At least I will e prepared before the movie, I suspect Miss 5 will like it regardless.

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    1. I'm sure your Miss 5 will have a great time. The Little Princess enjoyed all the funny bits about her brothers being wild ;-) And if you read the other comments you'll notice that my take on it is not universal, so you might love. Do let me know what you think ;-)

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    2. I think reading your post helped reset my expectations so I was not disappointed, like I would have been. Miss 5 did love it, and I enjoyed the movie having no expectations of what the movie was going to be about and quite prepared to be disappointed.

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    3. Well, I'm glad my review helped ;-)

      I'm planning on watching it again. I was so annoyed with the sewing bit, that I didn't pay attention to the great animation and my goodness that realistic hair. She might be the only cartoon character with hair as curly as mine ;-)

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  19. That is so dissapointing! I really wanted to see "Brave" and now not so much. You'd think people would want to send messages to empower girls rather than promote conformity. A lifelong fight there.

    LMAO! I loved that part in "Lamb." It was one of those laugh out loud in the dark (reading from Kindle light) nights.

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    1. Watch it and see what you think. It might just be me. Like I said, I was expecting a lot, so maybe I set my standards too high. Let me know what you think if you watch it.

      I'm reading "You Suck," now and oh my freaking gods! Christopher Moore is a hilarious genius. I must go to San Francisco to meet The Emperor lol

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  20. Oh, I nearly forgot! I would ask the wizard of oz for unending health and energy as well as ovaries the size of my Magaly's. :-)

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    1. I think your ovaries are pretty ginormous, my dear friend. You just wear your camouflage well ;-)

      Unending health, there is a magical wish. I will wish it for you, too! And a little for me ;-)

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  21. Ha! I wondered about the title as well. We just saw the movie and it did seem a bit patched together, but my 9-yr-old didn't seem to notice :) The funny thing is that we were recently in Montreal and saw movie posters for 'Rebel' their title for the movie. Somehow that seemed more appropriate!

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    1. I think you are right, Rebel sounds like a much more appropriate title.

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