Brave and Magic Mike

Dave and I saw Brave two nights ago, and Magic Mike last night. I enjoyed both of them, though in different ways of course.

Brave has been resonating deeply with me the more I think back on it — I wouldn’t be too surprised if I end up thinking of it as one of my favorite animated movies ever, up there with Pinocchio and Spirited Away. Brave has a lot going on, a lot of levels of meaning weaving in and out of each other — an engaging story, myth, comedy, psychology, spirit. Some of the character animation in the second half of the movie is as on target and touching as any I can remember. The story is well constructed and touches on a number of themes very close to my heart — the place of myths and legends and dreams in our lives, healing broken relationships, inner transformations. And there’s a wonderful, heartfelt twist at the end that I loved but can’t say anything about without giving it away.

Magic Mike is a better movie than we were expecting a movie about male strippers to be, well done and likable and not cheesy at all. The script is surprisingly good, with a lot of genuine humor and well-drawn characters. The acting is good, low key but natural and convincing. The story is simple but engaging. And the dancing is really spectacular. Channing Tatum’s dancing in particular is amazing and exciting even apart from the fact that he’s stripping while doing it — he’s OK when he’s speaking lines, but he’s downright awesome when he’s flying around the dance stage.

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