Rental Review - Brave

Brave (2012), PG, 93 minutes - Brave is the most recent animated effort from Disney/Pixar.  In my book, Pixar's involvement made it a must see, but just like The Amazing Spider-Man, it came out at an inconvenient time this past summer.  Fortunately, we didn't have to wait ages for its home video release.

Brave tells the story of Merida (Kelly Macdonald), a Scottish princess who loves archery and runs as free as she can (she has more tomboy in her blood than princess). Her father King Fergus (Billy Connolly) holds an archery tournament for Merida's hand in marriage at the urging of her mother Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson).  Not wanting her destiny to be chosen for her, Merida decides to enter the competition herself.  She wins and embarrasses the Lord's and their sons who came to participate.  After the impending fight with her mother, Merida storms out into and comes across a witch's hut.  She wishes that things were different so that her mother wouldn't continue trying to mold her into a 'proper' princess.  As we've all learned from every other Disney film, wishes get you in trouble!  This one is no different as the witch's impending spell causes a bit of chaos that requires Merida to rely on her tomboyish skills in order to fix.

The voice acting is solid.  Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, and Craig Ferguson provide the voices for the trio of Scottish Lords and Julie Walters voices quite possibly the oddest witch to appear in a Disney film.  She can be a bit menacing, but keeps to herself, carving animal sculptures out of wood and doesn't seem to have any truly evil motives (her spell causes problems, but she's not the villain).  Casting Billy Connolly as King Fergus was a stroke of genius.  Who better to play a goofy Scottish king?

Just like each Pixar film before it, Brave is an absolutely gorgeous work of computer animation.  Sometimes I wondered if they chose a Scottish princess with a massive tangle of red hair as their lead character solely to show off.  You can see every strand of hair on Merida's head.  Pixar's attention to detail is second to none.

The story itself was fun and entertaining, but felt a little bit lacking for a Pixar film in my opinion.  I love the fact that they finally made a film with a female lead, but it felt like they fell into the same old cookie cutter Disney princess plot that has been done (and done quite well I might add) for years.  I was honestly expecting something a little more original from the Pixar crew.  That may be a little unrealistic to expect.  After all, Pixar has set the bar unbelievably high with films like the Toy Story trilogy, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Wall-e and Up.

Brave has a couple of dark moments (as can be expected from a Pixar movie), but overall it is a fairly lighthearted and fun film that is worth giving a watch.  It successfully marries Pixar's amazing animation with a Disney Princess story.  It would be nice to see what they could do if they didn't rely on a stereotypical princess's wish goes wrong narrative, but I won't complain.  We did get another film animated by Pixar after all, and that is never a bad thing.

Comments

  1. I saw this one in theaters with Tucker. It was worth seeing on the big screen mainly for the gorgeous animation, but I agree that the story was lacking. It cleaned up a little too nicely at the end and was, as you pointed out, too formulaic. Tucker was a bit disappointed because Disney had been running these blurbs with little story lines that weren't even part of the movie. He expected to see a lot more of the triplets.

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