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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Brave Review

So I saw Brave yesterday.  I had my doubts about doing it, having run into the city just last week to see Prometheus, but I'm about to enter another busy stretch at work that'll eat up my weekends, so I figured there was no time like the present.

After the powerhouse that was Toy Story 3, and the cash-in that was Cars 2, I was really looking forward to Pixar getting back on track with something new and original.  For a while now, I'd been reading about how different this was going to be for Pixar...their first fairy tale, their first period piece, and in our heroine, Merida, Pixar's first female protagonist.  I was reading online about a few hiccups in production (original director Brenda Chapman was bumped from the project a year or so ago), but Ratatouille had similar hiccups and it turned out pretty damn good.  My heart did sink a bit, though, as more and more trailers came out, and it started looking like more and more Disney princess cliches started creeping into the film. 

So Princess Merida is growing at odds with her mother.  The Queen keeps training Merida in the ways of being a princess in order to be a kind and benevolent ruler some day, but Merida would rather be out and about kicking ass and taking names with her bow and arrow.  That's an attitude she takes into the traditional tournament for suitors to win her hand in marriage, but she makes a spectacle of the whole thing, leading to a permanent rift between mother and daughter.  While Merida is out in the woods running it off, she happens upon an old witch who offers to cast a spell to change Merida's fate.  But the spell takes the form of a terrible curse placed upon Merida's mother, and now mother and daughter must put aside their difficulties in order to break the curse.

So, there is a lot of good in the film.  Since it is Pixar, the animation is gorgeous.  The music is good, the voice acting is good, and it does go to some dark places.  The climactic battle is brutal. 

That being said, though, the plot is a little weak.  There's a couple of great ideas for subplots that never get past the idea stage.  And I understand what some critics are saying when the film can't settle on a tone.  One moment we're having high drama between the mother and the daughter, then we're having wacky slapstick comedy.  The scenes with the witch border on having come out of Shrek.  The film switches from silly to serious at the drop of a hat. 

However, I did feel a little something by the film's end.  It wasn't quite the emotional wallop of Toy Story 3, but there was something. 

Check out my entire review at the main site

1 comment:

Dan O. said...

Good review Mark. Had a lot of fun with this one for the first half or so, but then after that, things started to go downhill for me and it lost my focus. Usually, I love the heck out of Pixar films but this one didn’t do much for me, except give me plenty of eye-candy to gaze at.