Pietro's Movie Review: BRAVE
Published: June 21, 2012 - 1:17pm
Brave lacked a lot of heart, which unfortunately is the most consistent and important aspect of Pixar's more enjoyable films. What I had hoped to be a film chock full of depth, transcending the typical Disney Princess archetype much like Tangled did, was instead another cash grab that was pretty to look at.
Brave follows Scottish princess Merida as she gallops around on her horse, proves her efficiency with a bow and relishes in the standardized rebellious tomboy role. Her father and mother are attempting to marry her off and she wants nothing of it. Upon making a deal with a witch who lives hidden away in the woods, a deal that she gullibly hopes will help her mother understand her better, Merida is thrust into a journey to save her family and future kingdom. Her relationship with her mother, Queen Elinor, is center stage for the entirety of the film and while it does have it's tender moments it's fraught with role-reversal (mother becomes the student, daughter the teacher) that drags the story out.
Brave has all the elements that make Pixar films fun and endearing, but it's lacking a cohesiveness I've come to expect. There also appears to be no real message or meaning behind the flashy colors and action-oriented antics, things happen because they have to happen. The issue seems to be in whose visual was put on screen. There are three directors and four screenwriters attributed to this film and it shows in the off pacing and lack of risk taking.
On the positive side there is plenty of humor, especially from Merida's three younger brothers who offer cute and quirky laughs akin to an animated Disney-fied version of The Three Stooges, and King Fergus is a joy to see on screen; no little thanks to Billy Connelly's wonderful voice. Kelly Macdonald and Emma Thompson also embody their daughter and mother characters very well, and I could listen to their harsh Scottish burr for hours. At the end of the day, Brave tries too hard to force you to think it has an important meaning, then distract you with pretty visuals long enough that you might forget there really is no meaning. It's a fluff movie for children and I think it will find a healthy audience in it's first few weeks especially with younger girls. But will it hold up to the test of time like so many other of Pixar and Disney's now iconic films and characters? I'm very doubtful.
Brave is set in the mystical Scottish Highlands, where Merida is the princess of a kingdom ruled by King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). An unruly daughter and an accomplished archer, Merida one day defies a sacred custom of the land and inadvertently brings turmoil to the kingdom. In an attempt to set things right, Merida seeks out an eccentric old Wise Woman (Julie Walters) and is granted an ill-fated wish.
Also figuring into Merida's quest - and serving as comic relief - are the kingdom's three lords: the enormous Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), the surly Lord Macintosh (Craig Ferguson), and the disagreeable Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane).
Brave features the voices of Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson and Robbie Coltrane. The film is directed by Brenda Chapman and Mark Andrews and scheduled to hit the big screen on June 22nd, 2012.