Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman; co-directed by Steve Purcell
Starring the voices of Kelly McDonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, and John Ratzenberger.
I do so loves my Pixar films. And it’s that time of year again when Pixar serves up their latest offering. We’ve been hearing for a while how different Brave was going to be. How it’s Pixar’s first fairy tale…how it’s Pixar’s first period piece…how it’s Pixar’s first female protagonist. Granted, I did read on line about some bumps in the production (director Brenda Chapman was officially removed from the production about a year or so ago), and as I saw more and more trailers, my heart started sinking as I started seeing more and more cliches of princess tales popping up. But still, I knew I had to go see it, because I love Pixar and it had to be better than Cars 2.
Many years ago, in medieval Scotland, there was a kingdom, and a princess named Merida. There’s growing tension between Merida and her mother, Queen Elinore, as the queen tries to teach Merida the ways of being a princess and grooming her to rule one day, but Merida loves nothing more than riding through the woods on her horse and sharpening her archery skills. The day comes when it’s time for Merida to be married off, but she causes such a spectacle that a permanent rift forms between mother and daughter. While riding in the woods, Merida comes across an old witch, and makes a bargain for a spell to change her fate. But the spell takes the form of placing a terrible curse upon her mother. And now, mother and daughter must put aside their differences and work together to break the curse and save the kingdom. Can they do it?
What I Liked
There’s an amazingly brutal fight at the climax, which was great to see. As always with Pixar, the animation is lush and just beautiful to look at. For our heroine, Merida is very much a woman of action. Such heroines are rare in animated films, and it does make for an interesting change.
What I Didn’t Like
I understand what other critics are saying in that the film has trouble finding a tone. At one point, it’s high drama in Merida and Elinore’s struggles. Then, we get slapstick comedy. And the scenes with the witch almost seem pulled out of Shrek. There’s a bit of a subplot with Merida’s father and his obsession with a demonic bear that’s never really developed. There’s lots of great ideas that never really gel.
While the end still doesn’t pack the emotional whallop of Toy Story 3, it’s still a very good and enjoyable film.