Friday, July 6, 2012

Brave Review

Pixar has the best track record in animation. They have created modern classics such as The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Up, Monsters Inc., and all three Toy Story films. But they have never had a female lead until now. Brave had a long development at Disney with Reese Witherspoon attached to star as Merida and Brenda Chapman slated to direct. The film was titled The Bear and the Bow. The project then moved to Pixar where Chapman eventually left the project and Mark Andrews stepped in. And now the film has been released.

Brave tells the story of Merida (Kelly MacDonald), a Scottish princess who lives in a kingdom with her parents, Eleanor (Emma Thompson) and Fergus (Billy Connolly). Merida is groomed by her mother to be queen but all she wants to do is go off and explore and fire arrows at targets. Eleanor brings suitors to the kingdom and when here and Merida get into a fight, Merida leaves the kingdom to find a spell that will change her fate. That's pretty much all I can say without spoiling the movie's twist. Let's just say she changes her mother into something that she didn't really intend.

Brave is a pretty standard Pixar film. That doesn't mean that it's bad, I enjoyed it much more than I did Ratatouille and Finding Nemo, but it's not as amazing as some of their other films. The animation for Brave is spectacular and is definitely Pixar's most skilled animation yet. The action is decent but it isn't well choreographed. In some of the fight scenes and the comical brawls, there are people flying all over the place. The humor is sometimes really funny, but this is where I think a major fault of the film lies. For an animation studio that I associate with clever humor and great stories, the humor is really dumb and crude in Brave. There are a few clever jokes but there was a lot more slapstick, low-brow humor than in previous Pixar efforts.

Another major fault of the film is that it is also a fantasy piece. There are some things that it seemed that we were supposed to know about the film's mythology that weren't very well explained. A particular example is that there are several scenes in the movie that take place with seven stones. That was never clearly explained, and if it was supposed to have significance, it didn't.

Brave is a good Pixar movie and I think that it's enjoyable. I think that kids will like it more than adults because it's a movie with an easy plot to understand and I don't think that it is aimed at adults like WALL-E, Up, and Ratatouille. The film is fun but also doesn't feel very epic. I don't know if the filmmakers were intending it to feel that way but it didn't work. I think Brave is a good, enjoyable movie with some flaws, but overall a solid piece of entertainment.

THE FINAL GRADE:  B-                                           (6.7/10)

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