- User Rating: Very Good
Bang For The Buck
Pros:Interesting lead character, great animation and score
Cons:None of the characters are fleshed out, not up to Pixar standards
The Bottom Line: A fairly average children's movie that fails to meet the lofty standards set by previous Pixar fare
After the disappointment of last year’s Cars 2 and the announcement of next year’s Monster University, my uncompromising faith in everything Pixar has started to waver. Still, the idea of them finally following the Disney path and putting out a film with a true female lead gave me hope for Brave, so I took my oldest son to catch it in theaters for opening weekend. While it was a decent film compared to the usual children’s fare, it certainly advances my opinion that Pixar is on the slide.
The movie features the story of Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), a young Scottish princess who is more interested in riding and archery than the future affairs of the kingdom she lives in. Her mother, Queen Elinor (voice by Emma Thompson), spends her days trying to prepare her daughter for her future through the lessons necessary in being a proper lady. This causes the two to have a strained relationship.
This only gets worse when Merida finds out she is to be betrothed to the eldest son of one of the clan leaders who is allied to her father, King Fergus (voiced by Billy Connolly). The three clans sail to the castle to compete for the hand of the princess, as is the custom in the land. Merida, who is only interested in keeping her freedom, looks for any way to avoid the arrangement, leading to unforeseen complications for the entire family…
The film is beautifully made with a wonderful score, as you would expect from Pixar. The main problem that I had is that we have just come to expect more from Pixar when it comes to storytelling, and that is where the film disappoints here. After an interesting start, the film breaks down to into childish humor and broadly drawn characters with only Merida driving the story in any way or bringing any emotion to the screen. While that be good enough for most animated films, Pixar has raised the bar to such heights that every film that comes out is unfortunately going to find itself compared to Toy Story 3, Up and WALL-E. It might not be fair, but it is just the way things are, and it is those comparisons that cause Brave to pale here.
That being said, the film certainly isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. There are enough laughs to be had for many older children to enjoy the film, and young girls everywhere will enjoy having a Disney “princess” who can take care of herself in a fight if necessary. While I didn’t take my youngest son to the film because he wasn’t intrigued by the trailer, I can say that several of the youngest in the crowd did seem frightened by some of the darker scenes (and the film does have some darker overtones to it), so you might want to consider your child’s preferences before bringing a 3-5 year old to the matinee.
Overall, while the film definitely has its moments, it is hardly the must-see fare that I was hoping when I first started seeing trailers for the film. Much like Cars 2 last year, the animated short before the film (this time La Luna) was actually better than the feature presented afterwards, which should be a disturbing trend for Pixar. 3 out of 4 stars
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Movie Mood: Family Movie
Viewing Method: Other
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Nothing