¨If you had a chance to change your fate, would you?¨
Pixar has raised the bar so high in animated films that it seems unfair to go into a film with such high expectations, but I did with this movie. Brave isn’t a bad film, but it really doesn’t hold up to Pixar’s greatest pictures like Up, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, or Ratatouille. It is visually amazing, but in an animated film I have come to expect a good story with interesting characters as well, along with a decent amount of comedy. Brave sometimes feels a bit serious, with not much really happening story wise. It is a gorgeous film to look at, but I ’m afraid the characters won’t stick with me in the same way that other animated characters have done so. I don’t know how much younger children will enjoy this movie, but it is a film that grown up kids and adults might enjoy. Brave is entertaining, and I have to admit that Pixar finally gave us a different kind of Disney princess this time. Merida loves archery and adventures; she isn’t your typical princess that dreams of finding love or is patiently waiting for her prince to come rescue you. This was probably my favorite aspect of the film; having Pixar introduce us to a different kind of heroine: a brave one. On the negative side I find it pretty tiring that they continue to insist on this parent against kid confrontation, where you have one of the parents trying to impose their value on the kid, and the parents always end up looking like the bad guys. There were a lot of similarities between this movie and How to Train Your Dragon (a movie I really loved), although that movie was more gorgeous to look at and had much more memorable characters. Brave is a good film, it just isn’t as great as the latest Pixar releases.
Brave takes place in Scotland in a mythical time where four different clans all live in peace among each other. Fergus (Billy Connolly) is the leader of his clan, and he rules his people bravely alongside his wife, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). They have a daughter named Merida (Kelly Macdonald) who Elinor is preparing to be Queen one day. She must behave and act like a princess despite the fact that Merida prefers riding on her horse all day and having outdoor adventures with her bow. This difference between Merida and Elinor is what continually puts them against each other. When Merida finds out that her mother intends her to marry one of the firstborns of the other three clans she gets even more upset with her. Tradition stated that she must marry the firstborn of one of the clans in order to maintain the peace in the region so all three clans are coming to their land to fight for her love. One night Merida is so outraged that her mother never listens to her that she decides to run away from her home and comes across a witch who gives her a potion to change her mother. This way Merida believes she will finally be able to make her own decisions and her mother will accept her. What she doesn’t know is that her actions will have terrible consequences and that peace among the clans will be at stake.
The funniest characters in the film are the three younger brothers Merida has who are constantly being reckless. They provide the few comedic moments this animated film has. Otherwise I felt it played out more as a drama/adventure than a comedy. I really just got across watching this film after it received its Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film and was a little disappointed with it, but perhaps I’m just getting too old for this stuff. I still have to see the other four nominees before I choose my favorite, but Wreck it Ralph looks interesting. The plot really got weird during the second half of the film, but I still enjoyed the movie overall although I won’t be watching it again. I was a little disappointed with the story, but the visuals of the Scottish highlands were great. The film was directed by Mark Andrews after Brenda Chapman abandoned the project during the production stages. Andrews is mostly known for his short animated film: One Man Band which I loved. He didn’t have that great of a story to work with, but Brave is still a slightly entertaining film just don’t go into it with such high expectations.