Reel Shorts | Brave

21 06 2012

A fierce young lass who hopes to change her fate, makes a decision that almost brings her family disaster in this estrogen-driven Pixar drama, Brave.

Since their creation in 1995, Pixar has become the platinum standard for animated films racking up an astounding 26 Oscars with six of their films taking home top animated honors. With the bar set so extraordinarily high, their latest effort is just . . . ordinary. The story centers on a young princess, Merida (Kelly McDonald, Boardwalk Empire) who is apple of her father, King Fergus’ (Billy Connelly) eye and who bristles at her mother’s, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) attempts to mold her into a future queen. On her birthday, the young princess receives a bow and arrow from her father and soon her skills proves superior to every young man in the kingdom.

After her mother arranges for the men of the kingdom to compete for her daughter’s hand in marriage, Merida has her own ideas and the two get into a heated argument. She sets out on a journey to change her fate, which takes her deep in the woods following a group of small blue fairies, Will O’ the Wisps, to a witch’s (Julie Walters) hut where she makes a deal with unforeseen consequences that places the future of her entire family in peril.

The first Pixar film with a female protagonist, Brave is a darker film than what the studio has produced in the past and is arguably its most beautiful film to date. The problem is with screenwriter Brenda Chapman’s story which is great to look at but lean when it comes to substance. Daddy’s girl falls out with mother, tragedy ensues and mother and daughter bond and all is well again in the kingdom. There is some mysticism, some periods of dread and some life lessons along the way. Unfortunately, there are no magic moments from past successes such as Toy Story, The Incredibles, Wall-E, Up and countless other Pixar classics. The film is penalized more for what its not versus its strong estrogen point-of-view, which should work well for mothers and daughters.

Even Pixar good-luck charm John Ratzenberger, who has appeared in every one of the studios films, wasn’t enough to save this story. Not Pixar’s worst (that would be Cars, thank you very much) but unfortunately an average film is NOT an option!





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