Directed by Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, and Steve Purcell
Starring Kelly Macdonald, Bill Connolly, and Emma Thompson
Over the years, Pixar has released a slew of great movies, a few okay ones, and a couple that were kind of awful. But we forgive Pixar for those awful movies, mostly because we understand that they are a business, and like any business they need to make money, plus they have given us a slew of great movies. Last year’s Cars 2 was definitely a dark mark for Pixar as a movie studio, though not as a merchandise licenser, and its failure was forgotten simply because the trailer for the 2012 Pixar release, Brave, looked spectacular. It was as though Pixar was telling us, “yeah, this won’t be great, but look what we got lined up for next year. Pretty cool huh?” And so we said, “It does look pretty cool Pixar, so we’ll let you off the hook… this time.” Now here we are in 2012, and Brave has hit the screens. Does it justify the release of Cars 2, and were we a little too generous in letting Pixar off the hook for its past transgressions?
The answer to both questions is no. Brave, while a good movie, is not the spectacular affair that The Incredibles or Wall-E was. There are not a lot of bad things to say about Brave, but there are also not a lot of good things to say. Most everything about Brave lands in the middle. This makes it hard to get excited about, because it’s a largely forgettable movie, but is fun and cute and funny when you’re watching it. However, I’m willing to admit that Brave missed its mark with me because this is not a movie targeted at my particular demographic. I bring this up because I feel the themes of adolescence finding independence juxtaposed with what it means to have parents are important ones, and if I had a daughter, or a son, I would be quite proud of them if this was their favorite movie of all time. At it’s core, Brave is a fable about being true to yourself without being completely horrible to your loved ones, while simultaneously exploring the relationship between a child and its mother (while the story is about a girl and her mother, I think these themes are applicable to boys and their mothers as well).
Whoever designed Merida’s hair deserves an award or a raise or something, because that hair was incredible.
Ultimately, Brave is a solid movie, it just fails to live up to the very high standard of Pixar’s best movies. That being said I think Brave has a good message and some great animation, and will only disappoint if you’re expecting a classic.
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