Sunday, 8 July 2012
Pixar may have a name that generates expectations whenever a film of theirs comes out, yet even they have the occasional lesser film (I know we can argue about my particular choice of an example, but I invoke WALL-E; others will pick on other Pixar films). Brave, however, is not one of those bit-of-a-lesser films; it is a different cupcake altogether. For the first time ever, Brave left me asking whether Pixar has gone institutionalized. Or rather: since its acquisition, has Pixar been Disney-sized?
Brave takes place in a fairy tale version of Scotland. Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) is the eldest daughter of the king (Billy Connolly) and queen (Emma Thompson). She’s not your typical princess; she prefers her bow & arrow to the typical girly stuff those lasses from Scotland of yonder used to go for. When the day comes for the rulers of three tribes reporting to her father to present their sons and have them compete for her hand, Merida rebels against the mother that tells her this is the way things are done. She runs away, meets a witch, and… has her mother turned into a bear. Just like the bear her father, the great warrior, lost a leg to. Can Merida rise to the occasion and sort out the teenage rebellion mess she got herself and her family into? Will the kingdom survive her rebellion without one tribe killing the other?
Brave is certainly to be congratulated for putting a female at its center and for portraying the joys of teenage life from the female side of things. However, I was less than impressed by the overall show: neither plot nor character gripped me. It took me a while to figure out, but I can now point my finger and say: I consider Brave to be the weakest Pixar film ever by virtue of it being a template film, a film of a type we’ve seen before. It is not a bad film, but it is not an original film either; element per element, we’ve seen it all before.
Mind you, the Brave’s performance in sound is something special, notable even at a cinema environment. Yet another gem from the hands of Gary Rydstrom.
Overall: It’s really hard for me to accept a Pixar film has left me so indifferent, but Brave did just that. The magical touch of Disney leaves it with 2.5 out of 5 stars.