Disney Pixar’s Brave tries to break away from the stereotypes of its genre. It is the first Disney Princess movie whose plot does not have a full-brewing love story, despite the highland games which ensue around our strong willed Princess, and it is not a musical. Instead, this film focuses on Scottish Princess Merida’s relationship with her mother, and her coming into wisdom.
Besides the initial differences Brave proves a tale-already-told. Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is a princess from a time long ago. Fierce and unwavering in her independence she longs for more than being a Lady and defies her role as Princess. This puts her at constant odds with her Lady mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). Much to her mother’s horror, Merida shatters the ancient tradition of picking a suitor from the highland games. What she doesn’t know is that Merida’s peace offering is a potion cooked up by a haggard witch from the forest with the caldron-cooked intent of changing the Queen so that Merinda’s destiny would also be changed.
As you probably guess, the potion goes array and the old lesson be careful what you wish for comes in full throttle. Merida and her mother set out to undo the spell before their lives are all changed, permanently, for the worst. Unfortunately this film seems more geared towards a younger child audience than the whole family – a shock given this film’s potential. The character depth never exceeds the tired coming of age and mending of family bonds themes; and the humor rarely goes beyond slapstick.
What the whole family will enjoy are the beautiful pictures. In holograph-imitating 3D, the rolling Scottish scenery pops out at you. The artists used elements of light in beautiful and interesting ways, with the sun’s rays catching themselves throughout the forest, and the use of shadow puppetry in the castle.
I wouldn’t go see Brave in theatres a second time but I would enjoy see it again, at home, for movie night. This film earns a solid B: a good attempt at making something new and more contemporary, but not pushing it nearly enough to earn status as a future Disney / Pixar Classic.
Brave is an American film from Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios. The film is directed written by Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman and Steve Purcell; Irene Mecchi is also credited for contributing to the screenplay. Brave runs 1hr 40mins and is rated PG.
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