Release Date: 8 August 2012
I’ve always been a huge fan of Pixar, because they never dumb down their audience. Their films give you something visually amazing, with an equally amazing storyline to boot. I was pretty excited to watch Pixar’s latest creation, Brave, and armed myself with high expectations and extra tissues (for those emotional moments) before stepping into the theatre.
Set in the Highlands of 10th Century Scotland, the movie’s protagonist Merida (Kelley Macdonald) is the independent and spritely young daughter of Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) and King Fergus (Billy Connell) of Clan DunBroch. Not only is she energetic, she also loves archery and is very opinionated (much to the Queen’s dismay)…in other words, everything a Princess shouldn’t be.
Truth be told, Merida was a little annoying. I know, I know – her mother did just tell her that her hand in marriage would be raffled off to the sons of neighboring Kings. I guess she did have the right to rebel. Her potential suitors weren’t very handsome or charming at all (as a Prince should be, duh).
But seriously? Don’t tell me she didn’t see that one coming. Honey, you’re a Princess. You should’ve known from the start that your life was going to be one of pleasing people and rising up to expectations. But nooooo, Merida has to be “different” by doing “what she likes”. Not only immature, but selfish as well.
There were definitely villains in the movie who were written to be annoying (like that little shit King Joffrey from the Game of Thrones), but I had much trouble sympathizing with Merida because of her brattiness. That and the fact that the story became more and more ridiculous as it progressed.
Perhaps it was because of the change in Directors mid-way through the film (Brave was initially directed by Brenda Chapman and finished off by Mark Andrews), but something seemed to be lost in transition. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much of an emotional pull for me – a rare occurrence given that this is a Pixar film.
The plot was a little too draggy, and if it weren’t for the Merida’s cheeky little brothers, I would’ve probably fallen asleep.
However, the musical score was amazing. And the animation? Hoo boy. Merida’s signature curly orange hair was a sight to behold. Each strand reflected the light differently, and I loved watching her hair bounce whenever she ran. Everything that the story lacked was made up for with the animation and visual effects (also because I know how difficult it is to animate hair, fur, grass and water). Seeing those amazing animation elements coupled with the sweeping Scottish music was enough to make me tear. At least three tissues worth of tears, at least. But that’s from a technical point of view.
All in all, Brave is more of a children’s movie than anything else. It was more Cars 2 than WALL-E - no hidden sub-plots that only adults would understand, and no real lessons to be learnt…except maybe how strong the love between a mother and a daughter can be.