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Highlands Heroines: Disney’s “Brave” celebrates the strength and spirit of mothers and daughters.

 

A bonnie Highlands lass: Merida wants to change her fate. Can she do it without accidental consequences? “Brave” follows her path.
Limited to 2,500 pieces worldwide, the “Merida” and “Queen Elinor” doll set is available for 9. Unlike many prized Disney films of the past, “Brave” targets the often contentious love that a mother and daughter can share.
Comic relief is provided by this trio of mischievous brothers. Merida scornfully calls the triplets “demons.” Their doll versions are identical and impish.
Dolls of Merida, Queen Elinor, and the triplets—Harris, Hubert, and Hamish—are available in several styles and sizes. Here is the “Brave Mini Doll Set.”
From the youngest to the oldest member of your clan, there is a “Brave” plaything to purchase and love.
Bears play a central role in the unfurling of the film’s tapestry.
All aspects of the film are represented with dolls and collectibles. Merida sees her mother, Queen Elinor, as unbearable and overly critical. Her resentment has an unexpected result.
What more could a lass hanker for? There are plush animals, costumes, slippers, dolls, and even archery sets for the “Brave” fan. Get them now before they’re gone!
A bonnie Highlands lass: Merida wants to change her fate. Can she do it without accidental consequences? “Brave” follows her path.
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My family watches a lot of movies. Many times it’s classics that my husband and I grew up seeing and adoring—lots of MGM entertainment vehicles, cinematic adaptations of great books, movie musicals (they don’t make ’em like “The Sound of Music” or “The King and I” anymore). So, in my living room, we’re all pretty steeped in film concepts and film images. My kids are only 8 and 10, but they could give Siskel & Ebert a run for their money back in their thumbs-up heyday. They both have their opinions on what’s good, what’s great, and what’s worth watching again, and again, and again.


This past weekend we watched the Pixar/Disney animated flick “Brave.” I’m sure you’re all familiar with this movie—either by having seen it in the theaters or having watched all the trailers that saturated TV during the summer months. It features a redheaded, wild-tressed, tomboyish heroine—a princess, but armed with a bow and arrow—and glorious Celtic music playing in the background as she galloped upon a horse across lush, green, Highland backgrounds. It was visually stunning!


Since the cost of going to a film tops $35 for us—and that’s just the tickets—we have abdicated most of our moviegoing to DVD/Blu-ray viewing. And the Blu-ray of “Brave” is breathtaking with its rich color scheme—greens and blues and oranges that seem to explode across the screen.


Turning our evening into a live performance was my daughter and her “Merida” doll, accompanied by her own life-size, actual-operating bow and quiver set. (Yep, when she felt the spirit move her, Jane would get up and let some suction-cupped arrows fly.)


“Brave” tells a story that is familiar terrain for fairy-tale enthusiasts—especially folks who enjoy the Disney retooling and retelling of what constitutes a princess. Just as Mulan rode into battle garbed as a boy, and Rapunzel from “Tangled” saved the guy who fancied himself her rescuer, Merida is a princess who has a feminist bent and an immeasurable independent streak. She is destined to have her hand won by a suitor—a young laird from a clan that she doesn’t even know or fancy—and she rankles at that setup. Determined not to let herself be married off, she sneaks into an archery competition and shoots for her own fate. She is aiming her bow and arrow, smack in the center, at her own marital destiny.


That’s pretty heady stuff for an animated film—and the kids were impressed by Merida’s feisty spirit. Living in America in 2012, the children couldn’t imagine a time when a girl HAD to be married, and especially wed to a man she’d never met. This was inconceivable to them.


The movie follows Merida’s path to change her fate, and the unexpected fallout that occurs when she invites a witch to help her conjure up a spell to alter her mom. Young teen Merida sees her mother as the bane of her existence: always criticizing, scolding, tutoring, observing, commenting, and instructing. In other words, she’s always being too maternal and too hands-on. Merida sees her mother, Queen Elinor, as unbearable. And that critique has unplanned figural and literal results.


As a mom, I watched “Brave” and was touched by the sparring that unfurled between Merida and Elinor. Unlike so many other Disney films where the mother is nonexistent—think “Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Bambi”—here the relationship between mother and daughter is front and center, top and bottom, palpitating all throughout the heart of the film.


The head-butting and the misunderstandings—the love that often seems so deep that both parties will drown in it—all of this is captured by the screenplay, the voice actors, and the animators.


Kelly Macdonald speaks for the young, struggling princess; veteran actress/Academy Award winner Emma Thompson vocally embodies the queen. The rest of the characters seem to be acted by half of Scotland: Craig Ferguson, Billy Connolly, Robbie Coltrane, and Kevin McKidd.


“Brave” is a pleasant way to pass a night with the family: sons will find the father figure and the triplet brothers funny and gross; daughters will identify with Merida’s passion and her spunkiness; mothers will be the most touched by this flick. It showcases how powerful a mother’s love is for her children: a fierceness that can transform even the mildest of maidens into a ferocious mama grizzly bear. (I think a onetime vice-presidential candidate might have been onto something.)


There is a bounty of collectibles available from this film. They run the gamut from American Girl-sized dolls that depict Merida as a toddler, fashion dolls, nesting dolls, transforming dolls, and figurine play sets. They’re all lovely to look at, and they all pay tribute to the bonds that attach a mother to a daughter: a connection that is both beautiful and brave.


As we prepare this week for Thanksgiving, I’m sure we’ll watch other movies over the long holiday weekend. I’m thankful I have a family that enjoys spending time together, and is able to talk about our films, our favorite scenes, and, of course, our favorite toys! Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

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Latest Articles from News & Notes

2015 DOLLS Awards Industry's Choice winners announced

The 2015 DOLLS Awards of Excellence Industry’s Choice winners (DAEs, also called the Diamond Awards) were announced at the International Doll & Teddy Bear Show in Asheville, N.C., June 6. The Industry's Choice winners will go on to become the nominee's in the Public's Choice voting, set to begin in late June.

Without further ado, here are the winners of this year's Industry's Choice Diamond Awards!

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Jones Publishing Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

The Jones Publishing Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed upon one recipient per year. This award was created in 2002 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the teddy bear, with the first recipient being Steiff, a German-based plush toy company known for its high quality and prices.

The Lifetime Achievement recipient must be or have been involved in some aspect of the doll and/or teddy bear field for a minimum of 25 years. The recipient may be an individual, partnership, corporation, company, author, artist, marketer, historian or any other industry professional. Lifetime Achievement Award nominations may be made by previous recipients or members of the LAA committee.

To qualify as a nominee, entrants must meet the following criteria:

  • Been active in the doll or bear field a minimum of 25 years.
  • Maintained or increased the quality of reputation and product or service provided since inception.
  • Served the industry with integrity, honesty, reliability
  • Received a majority of the votes from previous recipients.

The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented to the following individuals and companies since its inception:

2002 Steiff
2003 Hildegard Gunzel
2004 Alexander Doll Company
2005 R. John Wright
2006 Wendy Lawton
2007 Virginia Turner
2008 Toy Shoppe
2010 Helen Kish
2012 Maggie Iacono
2013 Heidi Plusczok
2014 Jack Johnston
2015 Kaye Wiggs

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BLACKALL ASSOCIATES INC. 
ANNOUNCING Winner of the Summer Heat Photo Contest

August 8, 2014 - Blackall Associates Inc. is proud to announce the winner of its Summer Heat Photo Contest. The contest drew entries from around the world. Masterpiece Doll collectors sent in a special photo showing how their Masterpiece Dolls were enjoying the summer heat. 

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i have very old magazines need to sell them before something happens to them
margie , December 20, 2014
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i really like all the barbie balack dress, can i ask question can i buy this, because its all out in the market now here in the philippines, can you help me please im a big fan of thiss dolls
mark christian paul l. carigma , December 16, 2014 | url

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The Chicago Toy Show

You haven’t seen a toy show until you’ve seen this one. Six buildings! Over six hundred exhibitors! Exclusively toys and dolls and children’s playthings on display everywhere! This is the show everyone always says they intend to visit, and now is the time to do just that. Collectors say the Chicago Toy Show really is the largest in the entire world. They are correct. Collectors say they find toys at this show that are never seen anywhere else. Correct again.

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Konnichiwa and Grüezi - 150 years of Japan and Switzerland

19 April 2014 – 5 October 2014

A special exhibition will take place at the Toy Worlds Museum Basle to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Japanese-Swiss diplomacy and friendship.

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