Brave (Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, 2012) 2.5/4
If anyone is expecting another groundbreaking film from Pixar, unfortunately they will be extremely disappointed. Going back to “traditional” Disney formulas, Brave tells the story of a princess, the queen, the king, and an evil witch. This isn’t a terrible thing; in fact, it’s the first film to have a female in the main role, it’s just not fresh and original, like most of Pixar’s past films. The film was 90 minutes but felt like maybe 40 because nothing rememberal happened. Here’s a little spoiler: the princess is unhappy with her life, tries to change things, trusts the wrong person, and then has to solve the problem. The film just felt embarrassingly formulamatic and unoriginal.
Princess Merida is a young, restless, and masculine girl living in Medieval Scotland. Her mother, the queen, demands that she select a husband from a group of boys who must compete for her hand. Her father, the king, organizes an event to bring the other kingdoms together to decide on Merida’s marriage. After Merida interrupts the event, the runs away and stumbles upon a witch. Asking for nothing but a change of mind from her mother, the witch gives her a pastry to feed to her mother. After eating the pastry, the queen turns into a large, scary bear. Trying to change her mother back into the queen and protecting her from the bear hungry king, Merida must mend the relationship and the unrest in the kingdom.
The strength in Brave is the beauty within the animation. Although it is not a strong film, it certainty is one of the best looking. The shot where Merida is about to shoot an arrow and the focus is rolled while the action is in slow motion was simply breathtaking. The landscapes of Scotland are very well done and each character has a unique approach (like all Disney films) that adds fun and enjoyment to the summer film.
Unlike most Disney princess films, Brave has a great message for young girls; it’s ok to be a lesbian. That was a joke, but really it says that it’s fine to be different and it’s ok to not like “girly” stereotypes. It also supports a positive message of good communication between mothers and daughters. I think the film is great and is a strong film to put amongst Disney’s bill, but maybe not Pixar’s. Why can’t there be an animated film about a girl who isn’t a princess? It’s hard to say where the animation company will go from here but I feel it might be time to go back to the drawing board.