Brave may not be in the same leauge as Finding Nemo, but it tells a familiar story of mother and daughter and traditional values that the ladies of the family household can enjoy together
Directed by: Brenda Chapman
Featuring the voices of: Kelly MacDonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd and Craig Ferguson.
In old traditional Scottish kingdom, princess Merida has been raised to be a future bride for one of the three clans of the four's male first borns to take her hand and maintain peace between the kingdoms. Merida, however, isn't interest in tradition and more in archery and being her own woman.
It's a coincidence that we a get a second lead female who is also a master in archery, but we can calm the audience in saying Pixar started first while the books were still being published. Pixar, like it's latest film, has broken it's boy's club traditions to allow their first ever lead woman take the reigns. The studio also introduces a story of a princess, a story interest only Disney has been known to execute well for years since Snow White.
Merida (MacDonald) is not your typical princess. She wants to be independent and peruse her own goals as a woman not bound by tradition. Her mother, Elinor (Thompson) disapproves of her daughter being an archer as much as her ignoring being a lady; princess to code. Like most mothers and daughters in the real world, the differences beween their views is quite common; a timeless relationship. Without Merida's knowledge (odd) the day comes where the three clans separate to the King's land, Fergus (Connolly) will present their first born sons to compete for Merida's hand in marriage to maintain stability before a future war. Disapproving and disrespecting tradition, both women exchange verbal actions full with regret that forces Merida to discover a Witch/Carpenter (Walters) and acquire a spell that transforms her mother into (spoiler) a Grizzly Bear.
Now, when the picture of Merida standing with a sword in front of a bear with the title "Merida captures the bear", it looked like Brave would only be a trip with nothing teddies. I'm told a few minutes later not to question "Pixar's Authority", but I had good reason. Luckily, I was half right. While the story of a mother and daughter on opposite plateaus is nothing new, the concept is only half original. If you remember seeing Freaky Friday with Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan, then you will know the outcome. The execution is what separates the mimicry from the originality. Like earlier mentioned, this gives Merida and her mother a chance to bond together in an unlikely circ*mstance. The setting is darker toned than Pixar is accustomed to, but works. Ignoring the fact that Elinor is a bear, the interactions are just a treat.
Where Pixar fails is with both women. All the characters are set up perfectly to know them first hand, but afterwards, all the men are portrayed to be idiots, especially the mentally challenged blonde kid. Separate the women for the smart development and the slapstick comedy to the men to please both genders in the audience. Granted, I chuckled at the slapstick, especially with the triplets, but if it's truly the age for strong female characters in fairy tales, you don't have to reduce prince charming's I.Q. further with each passing movie. And, as far as anyone is concerned, she only proves how good she really is in a fraction of the film when she isn't already proving her expert archery skills. Leading up the ending we assume correctly of the outcome, but it doesn't leave much to the imagination, which is what Pixar is known notoriously for with features like Toy Story, Nemo, Up and Wall-E. it even felt a little rushed.
A big thumbs up is truly given to the visuals, especially Merida's hair. it shows how far the skill in animation has progressed where if the 3D is worth the admission, you might want to touch it. I doubt she uses soap on her head. The dark tone actually puts a few kids in the room to a fright, but satisfies the adults in the room. The blue flame Willow Whispers remind more of a cross breed between a fairy and a Lampent.
Not on par with the classics, but a new development for the company. Obviously the other half of the world will watch it intimately and lead the year like it always does. A doozy somewhat, but beautiful overall.
Written by: Bawnian©-Dexues