100th Review: Brave (2012)

Brave

Release Date: June 22, 2012

Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell

Stars (voices): Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson

Runtime: 93 min

Tagline: Change your fate.

Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.

Considering that this took six years under works, one would think this would be a little better. The story is just lacking, and it isn’t enough to be entertaining throughout the whole 93 minutes. Where it lacks in story; it makes up in message, characters and laughs.

Merida is the first female protagonist of a Pixar film, and she’s a promising first attempt. She is headstrong and very ambitious. She feels that her fate is carved in stone, but she wishes to alter it somehow. When she does try to change it, however, it comes with drastic consequences. When she gives her even more headstrong mother a potion (in the form of a cake), made for her by a witch shop owner, Merida has no idea her mother will turn into a bear, the very animal her father hunts. This situation causes many problems, like her father and castle guests sent on a wild bear hunt, but also causes Merida and her mother’s relationship to prosper. With this situation, they are able to see life through the other person’s eyes. Also, the father is a great character, he is quite funny. The voicework from everyone involved is pretty great, everyone has funny moments and they offer jokes that are great for all ages. Merida’s three brothers are pretty cute; not anything special, they’re just cute. They’re practically mute, so they’re just there to lighten the mood a little.

The message is pretty great – honour your parents and communicate well with them, and cherish family. It’s a message all children should learn and hold dear, because family is a great support system. Though, this message isn’t anything a child’s parents can’t teach them.

The sequences of archery and other action sequences are quite great, but some scenes can get somewhat frightening for younger viewers (maybe anyone under the age of 4 or 5).

I’ve seen many better stories in animated features. The whole ‘undo a curse’ premise feels quite reminiscent of Shrek. Sure, this is quite original, but Shrek did come to mind while watching this. Maybe it felt reminiscent of Shrek because Shrek has a Scottish accent… Anyway, back to the story. The pacing is decent, but it isn’t a story that works well enough to fill ninety minutes. This is Pixar’s first period piece, and even though the story isn’t superb, the mythology was intriguing. Regardless of the story, the animation is very beautiful. It is some of the finest I’ve ever seen, and some of the finest animation of the year. The Scottish scenery is really beautiful and it really complements the animation. Also, it really portrays Scotland as a beautiful place, and it portrays its people as beautiful. Some may seem like lumberjacks, but they seem so cheery – it’s hard not to like them. All the Scottish accents in the film are sort of contagious, and when one quotes or explains the film, it’s hard not to talk in that dialect.

Brave offers some great characters, some fine animation, and a very mediocre story. Compared to great Pixar stories like Toy Story or Monsters, Inc., it pales in comparison. Brave does a great job of mixing beautiful animation with great Scottish scenery, and it makes for an experience that is worth checking out. It might not win Best Animated Feature of the Year (my “money’s” on Wreck-It Ralph), but it certainly deserves a nomination.

70/100

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10 Responses to 100th Review: Brave (2012)

  1. I thought it was flawed too. It started well and ended well, but I didn’t like the way it relied on action. Good by most studio’s standards, but weak for Pixar.

  2. CMrok93 says:

    Totally disappointing considering it’s from Pixar, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. It’s just not anything special especially when you put it against everything else that Pixar has been putting out for the past decade, except for last year with Cars 2. That can be forgotten. Good review Dan.

    • Filmcraziest says:

      If it was from DreamWorks or something, everyone would probably be praising it a lot more. It was too anticipated, but it was pretty enjoyable. Haha, I never even got into Cars so I wasn’t checking out the sequel. Thanks, Dan!

  3. Dave says:

    Tell you what…I was so bored with this movie. It’s mostly my fault for hating coming of age flicks, but I can say without a doubt it didn’t match other Pixar movies

  4. Mark Hobin says:

    I think the biggest problem is that Merida, our young heroine, is so thoroughly unlikeable. I get she’s supposed to be plucky and ultramodern but she comes across as selfish and disrespectful. Her sinful pride is the purpose – I get that. However at one point she commits a heartless act against her mother and I couldn‘t (no pun intended) stomach it. Merida’s narcissistic self obsession over her future coupled with her utter lack of concern for others made it hard for me to care about the princess’ predicament.

    • Filmcraziest says:

      I never particularly disliked her, but I see where you’re coming from. She screwed it all up for herself, but she did have some pleasant moments. I never disliked her, but I never cared for her deeply.

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