22 Rules to Phenomenal Story Telling

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Pixar recently shared their 22 Rules to Phenomenal Story Telling and PBJ Publishing was nice enough to take them and turn them into this great infographic.  It’s no secret that in movies today, Pixar as a company is leading the pack with some of the best movies since they began with “Toy Story”.  Forget that they do animated films that are geared towards kids; I know more adults that look forward to the newest Pixar film as much or more than their children.  Heck, even critics who wanted to find something wrong with “Brave” this year could only really say that it was great, just not as great as “Wall-E” or “Toy Story 3”.

I thought that as avid readers yourselves you would enjoy these rules because it’s fun to give a reason as to why some stories might fail.  And, as many of you are undoubtedly secret or not-so-secret wannabe writers, it cannot hurt to emulate a bit of what Pixar has done.



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Main Cast:

Merida – Kelly Macdonald
Fergus – Billy Connolly
Elinor – Emma Thompson
The Witch – Julie Walters

*WARNING* – I am writing this early, early in the morning after picking the Scottish fiance up from the airport and then watching this movie.  Please excuse all typos in the post.

Brave centers on Scottish princess Merida, who in her mythical time wants nothing more than to avoid the life-ending fate of marriage (as she said this line, the Scottish fiance and I laughed out loud).  She wants most of all to choose her own journey in life and to not have her family – mostly her mother – decide for her.  When a cast spell goes terribly wrong, Merida must find a way to break the curse before it is too late.

Brave was, in essence, a beautiful movie.  Visually stunning especially in 3D, it lives up to the Pixar movies that came before it.  When you tell me that you are going to have an animated film set in Scotland, my first thought is that you had better get the scenery to be as striking as what the real thing is.  Pixar definitely achieved that.  Intricate animation brings the mystical land to life and sets the perfect backdrop for the story that unfolds.

The story line was also gorgeous.  I have yet to be disappointed by a Pixar film (which is why I avoid Cars 2, since I fully expect disappointment), and I had high hopes for Brave and its feisty heroine.  No worries here, folks.  While one review I read of Brave criticized its focus on the mother-daughter relationship, I thought it was so much more fulfilling than anything else Pixar could have done with the story.  You get magic and enchantments, but at the heart of it all you watch the frustrated mother and daughter learn more about each other and grow closer together.  How can you not love a movie that so accurately depicts the struggles of every parent, but also shows the rewards for the effort we put in to our relationships?  (As a personal side note, if I had a nickel for every time my mom wished I was more ladylike, I’d be rich.  So Merida is obviously my new favorite character).  Merida and Elinor are the heart ofBrave, and their interactions drive the story.  It may not have been the plot I was expecting, but it was the one that the characters deserved.

It is hard to go into much detail without revealing key plot points, but I will say that I loved the voice cast.  I was a bit nervous about Emma Thompson, but her dinnays were just as good as native Scots Kelly Macdonald and Billy Connolly, if not a bit more refined.  I also want to say that I am very relieved that Pixar did not go ahead with the original casting of Reese Witherspoon, because Macdonald’s voice melds so effortlessly with Merida’s character.  Plus, an obvious fake Scottish accent would have distracted from an otherwise perfect movie.

It was perfect, it really was.  I remember there being one little plot hole (other than the fact that bears haven’t resided in Scotland since the Romans came, and if that’s when this was set, they didn’t wear kilts then), but even that has slipped my mind.

Oh darn, guess I’ll have to go watch it again.

Rating: 10/10

*Kudos also go out to the short before the movie, “La Luna”, which was worth the 3D glasses alone.  Stunning.*