If you're expecting another Finding Nemo, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
June 23, 2012 1:51 amKaitlin McManus
There’s no such thing as a bad Pixar movie. There are some that are amazing (Up) and some that are a bit subpar (I’m looking at you, Ratatouille), but compared to the 3D crap that Dreamworks and Disney-sans-Pixar pull out of their butts, it’s magic. Each one is different from the last, too – superheroes to fish to robots, Pixar always pulls us back in with its beauty and whimsy. Brave is no exception when it comes to the beauty, but if you’re expecting cooking rats or talking cars, you’ve come to the wrong place. Brave pointed Pixar as a whole in a new direction. I won’t say that it “raises the bar” or “sets the tone for the rest of the company’s existence,” but it’s a new take on their typical shtick, and a much-welcomed one at that.
Brave is a legend, a myth. A folk tale, if you will. Finishing off the hat trick of archers in films this year is Princess Merida of DunBroch (it’s magical Scotland, let’s be real), who just does not want to act like a princess, much to the chagrin of her mother, Queen Elinor. Elinor is a graceful ruler and true keeper of the kingdom, even though her husband pretends he’s in charge. Merida is in all senses unruly, from her manners to her attitude, right down to her insane ginger hair. As I myself am an owner of an almost identical head of hair, I assure you it is the definition of “unruly” and totally exists outside of a cartoon. Anyway, enough about me and my hair. Elinor has planned for three lords to present their three sons as suitors for Merida. I didn’t really catch their names, but I decided to call them Pigtails, Drunk, and Braveheart, and their sons Tubby, Crazy, and Anger Management, respectively. They compete in a sort of Highland Games and shoot archery for Merida. Crazy wins accidentally, but Merida shoots all three targets dead on, splitting Crazy’s arrows. Her mom gets pissed and they have a falling out, and through the dealings of a witch, Merida turns her mom into a bear. Because why not? If they don’t fix their relationship by the second sunrise, the transformation will be permanent. Also, her adorable triplet brothers are changed into cubs who happen to go breast-diving for keys. You know. I’m not going to give away the whole movie, but suffice to say that it’s Pixar, so everything works out just fine in the end; Merida doesn’t have to marry anyone (especially Crazy), she fixes all the fighting between Pigtails, Drunk, and Braveheart, and her mother stops being a control freak. All better. But it has that feel of a legend, being told a hundred times over a hundred campfires in the wee hours of the morning. The moral is that we all have the power to change our fate; we just have to be brave enough to do it.
This movie was great. I really enjoyed it. However, there seemed to be a few things missing. Now, when the witch gave the riddle to fix the spell (“mend the bond”), everyone in the theatre over the age of seven knew what that meant – Merida and Elinor have to kiss and make up. However, Merida is hell-bent on fixing a dumb tapestry, thinking that’ll work. There’s no epiphany moment where she says in her charming Scottish accent, “Oh, I get it – the tapestry isn’t the bond. Mum and I just have to stop being little shits to each other.” And there was no give and take in this bond-mending process. Elinor basically said that Merida could do what she wanted, giving in on everything that Merida should probably do – act like a lady, dress like a queen, all that. And all Merida did in return for her mother was say, “Sorry I turned you into a bear. My bad. I love you.” And everything was all better. Seemed a bit rushed to me. The characters in this movie were incredibly realistic, however. Very human; they weren’t heroes, they were people. And the fact that only one of the main characters spoke for a majority of it (Elinor couldn’t speak while in bear form – only gesture and grunt) made their relationship all the more impressive.
Pixar always seems to pick one thing they’re going to do animation-wise that will blow everything else out of the water. Aside from Merida’s hair, that thing in this movie was fabric. Every piece of fabric was textured perfectly to the point where I could probably tell you exactly what material ninety percent of the clothing was, even though it was all animated. It was like Finding Nemo’s water – I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. And the score – oh God, the score. It was beautiful. Not a Randy Newman number, but a full-fledged Scottish orchestral marvel, with a few wonderful original songs to go with it. I was absolutely blown away by the technical achievements of this film, both visually and musically.
Brave may not be as silly as Pixar’s other movies, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t as good. It’s amazing to look at and listen to, the plot is great if you don’t think too hard, and not to mention it was funny. There’s just something about the fact that you don’t wear underwear with a kilt that just never gets old. Brave is amazing. It just has a different vibe. Good different, of course. Like I said – there’s no such thing as a bad Pixar movie.
|FIND YOUR GEEK RATING||4.5|