Brave: A pleasant fantasy film.


It was only a matter of time before Pixar decided to tackle the fantasy genre. Even though it's a category Disney Animation has delved into several times with their fairy tales, Pixar typically stayed away from it and usually let their sister company handle the movies. Then they decided to bring on board former Disney storyboarded Brenda Chapman and allowed her to direct a new animated movie with Mark Andrews called "Brave". Although it doesn't reach the levels of that were set by Pixar's other films and does borrow too many elements from Disney, I still found enjoyment in the film. It's flawed, yes, but I certainly don't think it was a bad movie. In fact, I found it pretty good.

In the medieval times in Scotland, a princess named Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is getting frustrated with her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), constantly pushing forth protocol towards her at being a proper princess and instead yearns to go through the Scottish landscapes and practice her archery skills. To make things even more dismaying for her, she is intended to be betrothed to one of three sons to her father's allies and wishes not to marry quite yet. However, her mother warns her that if she doesn't consent to the betrothal, the kingdom could fall into despair. Frustrated, Merida flees and after following spirit like ghosts known as Will-o'-the-wisps, she stumbles upon the wood cottage of a witch (Julie Walters) with whom she bargains to change her fate. After being given a cake whom she then gives to her mother, Merida is stunned to find her mother transformed into a bear and must figure out how to change her back and sets things right before it's too late.

So as you could tell from the story, it's definitely not one of Pixar's strongest. It takes many elements from Disney's fairy tales as well as "Brother Bear" and combines them together to some interesting results. The good thing about is that it's definitely better than "Brother Bear" as it has a more timeless feel and also has more likable characters and it's especially better than Pixar's mess that was "Cars 2". However, it could've been better. The story just didn't have that feeling that the "Toy Story" movies or "Up" brought to the table which is kind of a shame. Still, though, I did find some enjoyment in it. The animation is stunning. This is something I definitely would see the movie for because the Scottish world that Pixar created is stunning to look at. It definitely has a cool feel to it and did have the fantasy quality I yearned for and even small details like Merida's bright red curly hair just popped out of the screen. I just really loved the look of the film. The characters are for the most part pretty likable. I did find Merida a little too whiny at times compared to the other Disney princesses and will admit that she did get too annoying, but I certainly didn't find her terrible. I guess she just reminded me too much of a sixteen-year-old teenager which I will give credit to Pixar for nailing the details on it. The real star of the movies were the supporting characters. The witch Merida comes across in the woods being a humble woodcutter was enjoyable and I certainly loved Merida's rambunctious father played by Billy Connolly. I've always found him enjoyable so hearing him in the movie was pretty fun. Even Merida's mischievous triplet brothers provided some fun laughs.

So, do I recommend "Brave" in the end? Yeah, I think it's worth watching. Its story and some of its characters may not be up to the standards that are seen in Pixar's other films, but I still found the animation incredible and the supporting characters fun enough. It's a pretty good example of a movie I can consider good, but not great. However, I can still watch a good movie any day and this is a film I can see myself watching sometime again.

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I have always been a fan of animated movies for years. So in 2016, I decided to start reviewing them uploading my reviews to IMDb. Now, I have launched my own personal website to post my reviews.

Reviews are published here and Letterboxd every Tuesday at 2 PM EST.

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