Joint movie review: The Lorax and Brave

Amongst the thrilling science fiction movies, primarily The Hunger Games and The Amazing Spiderman, playing on the screens this summer, were two cheerful animations; The Lorax and Brave. With the rush to go see the other two incredibly hyped action films, these two colorful Universal Pictures and Walt Disney films, respectively, were almost forgotten. However, their popularity was still high enough on the ladder for me and a couple friends to go see it. The Lorax worked as a cute story somewhat following the storyline that Dr. Seuss wrote, but Brave had more mixed reviews. Nevertheless, both left me feeling a little surprised but not disappointed.

The Lorax doesn’t include much to satisfy the action/adventure fanatics, unless you count the main character Ted’s tedious motorcycle-driving maneuvers. The story is perky, disputably loyal to the original book version, interesting, funny, and capturing. It doesn’t lack anything for the people who enjoy this type of movie – laid back, light humor, and a vibrant “fairytale”-like story with a subtle moral.

That being said, the “cutesy” animation style of this film causes a considerable loss of the original story’s moral, that is: the environmental damage that follows poor decisions and forethought. My praise for this movie was said regarding the entertainment value, especially for kids, however, I’m a little doubtful if this is the best story to present in such a style. The romance and childlike comedy that was added to the narration certainly did provoke laughs, but at the same time it removed most of the deep significance that was supposed to accompany the tale.

Brave gives me a harder time searching for words to express my thoughts on it. One online review called it “A disappointment worth seeing” – I’m not sure if I would use quite those words to describe it, but I agree that it was overall an entertaining watch however not without a few frown-provoking details.

The whole style of the storytelling and tools it uses seems to be targeted to children; the lively narrative tone, the wide palate of quirky and emphatically expressed characters (particularly in the different suitors and leaders from the clans), the presentation tools of the plot – it appears to be made to be as interesting and captivating as possible, specifically to capture a young child’s attention.

Yet, fights break out numerous times over the movie and there is an act of violence, big or small, in practically every scene, and the movie makes it seem like the violence isn’t even a big deal. I heard many small children in the theatre whimpering in fear more than once at the brawling. I understand that this is a part of the barbaric background and setting of the story, but I don’t like how the movie is essentially sending out the message that such violence is normal, a part of everyday life, and totally okay.

Another thing is the immaturity of some moments in the movie; boogers, mooning, and armpit hair pulling are just a few examples. Is this how the media wants to raise kids to be? The message they send out with these movies gets repeated, and repeated, and repeated, and becomes a habit for real people.

But if you can look past those downsides, then the plot line is well paced, twists and challenges occur at comfortable intervals, the storytelling is captivating enough, frequent jokes provide comic relief without derailing the chain of events, and many storytelling devices are used to keep the movie interesting- not to forget the realistic presentation of the characters and the ever present scottish music and culture. The only thing I found wrong in the storyline were the plot holes; for example, how naive Merida was when visiting the witch. Oh yeah, just take the flask and let a loved one drink it without even bothering to wonder what’s in it. That’ll solve all your problems! Why does she even ask for that kind of potion in the first place? It doesn’t seem neither logical nor well thought out. The father’s ignorance when Merida is trying to stop him from going out with his huntsmen near the end is more believable, as he is of course filled with rage and desperation. But this wasn’t expressed as distinctly as it could have for optimal audience sentiment … like I said, the movie was made for a younger, less critical audience who is just looking for a fun movie to entertain.

Nonetheless, the approximate 1.5 hours spent at the theatre for each movie was not regretted. I do recommend watching these movies, perhaps as an uplifting weekend study break or just as a fun night out with friends.

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Two sunny sides

Does anyone take random books off the shelves in the library?

I find so many interesting reads that way.

I especially find interesting the personal-development, or self-help section.

I feel a little odd leaving the library with an entire bag of checked out self-help books. I’m okay!!! I just like to read!!

But there’s no reason to not keep trying to make life better even if one isn’t wallowing in despair 🙂

I’d like to share my thoughts on two similar books about happiness I’ve read.

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The first, “Happy for no Reason”, I read several months back, perhaps a year ago. The second I just finished getting through last night.

I always take notes when I read books. It helps me remember the advice the books give and helps me learn a bit more about writing and literature – two things I’m very interested in :0)

Happy for No Reason beholds the real, easily explained key to happiness. Honestly, just reading that book can make a person happier. Many books seem to have this power, just because they are full of wonderous magical stories, but this one even explains how to stay happy after you put it down.

Many people get happy after something great happens to them, like winning the lottery, or getting a perfect mark on an exam, or getting a promotion at work…

But those are all things that aren’t so much under our control. What if you could put yourself in a happy state of mind, where no matter what happens to you you can be happy – you bring your happiness with you everywhere you go?

It’s the sort of thing that can turn lemons into lemon cake instead of plain old lemonade 🙂

The second book (which I just finished reading yesterday) is called “Choosing Brilliant Health”. This is a book with a similar goal, but it also includes a health-related take on happiness and how to achieve both (good health and good happiness) interrelatedly.

Both books have stories of happy people from around the world, things that happened to them, how they achieved ultimate happiness, and how they learned to stay happy despite unfortunate events. The difference here is that in Choosing Brilliant Health the stories are often related to health issues or overcoming health problems, and they are integrated into the general writing, whereas in Happy For No Reason the stories of happiness are more generalized and they are separated from the author’s thoughts/general flow of the book with sections and dividers.

This doesn’t cause much difference in the books, other than a slight smoother flow in Choosing Brilliant Health thanks to the mixing of the book’s outline – it helps tie the whole thing together and connect the points made in it. It also gives it a more plot-like development; it’s important to read the beginning before you read the end (but this holds true for any book, basically). In Happy For No Reason, you get the clear distinction between stories and can then apply the knowledge from what the book is talking about, in order to analyze those stories and find a way to use the knowledge they describe.

Both books also include the author’s/authors’ story while they were writing that book; whether it was giving seminars on happiness or travelling the world interviewing happy people. Many self-growth books have this component and I really think it increases the motivational power the books bring: it lets you get to know the authors in a more personal way and makes you listen to them more, as you feel like ou have a closer connection to them. They also use their little anecdotes to help readers feel like they are a part of the team, which is more inspiring to do the activities and exercises both books have.

I found it really helpful that in Happy For No Reason, the author included little overviews of the points covered in each chapter. It helps the readers remember the information they learned about and retain it.

Choosing Brilliant Health didn’t have this feature but it is written in a different style; if I should get really analytical, then Happy For No Reason is more hands-on, “let’s do this work to help you be happier” while Choosing Brilliant health more resembles a story that you can learn from with more liberty as to what information you pick out.

So, which book is better for you depends on how you prefer to learn; be presented a story and pick out what’s important to you, or be presented information and be told more directly what to do. However I recommend reading both books to anyone who is interested in this area. They give slightly different angles and both have very useful information, which can provide readers with a more thorough knowledge of the wisdom they contain :0)

Happy reading! 😉