Having viewed several movie trailers for Disney Pixar’s “Brave” in the past few months, I had eagerly anticipated seeing the story with my children. Adding to expectations, Merida, the heroine of the movie, was heavily promoted as a defining departure from traditional Disney princess incarnations of the past. Preview press releases highlighted her fiery red unbridled hair, master of archery skills and her fiercely independent spirit The table was set to be swept away by a rollicking adventure story. Yet what unfolded in the movie theater revealed Disney Pixar’s “Brave” to have a different fate.
How’s the Story?
Disney Pixar’s “Brave” in many ways seems to be half baked. “Brave” broken down to its simplest form is a coming of age story in which the central character must find a way to change in order to progress to the next level of her life. What should have made this story compelling was the complexity of its characters, their insightful interactions with one another, and the richly layered approach the storyline takes in order to achieve the desired conclusion. Unfortunately, “Brave” lacks these qualities or rather seems to have cut corners.In “Brave” the mother daughter relationship is the focal point. In fact, Merida and the Queen are the only characters given any sort of depth. In contrast, the men and boys in the story are depicted as stereotypical buffoons who revel in violent behavior. Yet even though Merida and the Queen’s interactions are more complex in nature, it lacks the poignancy of the parent and child relationship found in “Finding Nemo” or “Tangled.” The conflict between the mother and daughter too often feels contrived. As a result, we’re not emotionally invested with these characters leaving us indifferent about their lives.
How are the visual effects?
Breathtaking. Pixar Studios raises the bar once again on what is possible with computer animation. Merida’s tantalizingly life like red textured hair should secure an Oscar nomination for best animation. Her untamed fiery tendrils speak volumes about Merida’s fiercely independent streak in addition to giving her a larger than life appearance. Also visually noteworthy was Merida’s exhilarating acton sequence in which she rides her horse Angus through the captivating lush green countryside expertly shooting arrows at assorted targets while on route to a legendary waterfall which she death defyingly scales a mountain to reach.
The movie carries a PG rating. Can I take my younger children to see it?I’d caution parents to not bring children younger than 7 to this movie. The assorted bear scenes are quite realistic and frightening coupled with the inescapably loud audio. In the theater I saw “Brave” with my family, there were several young children screaming, crying, and clinging tightly to their parents in the audience. Not exactly the familiar fuzzy warm Disney Pixar experience parents expect. The scare level was more akin to the later darker Harry Potter films.
Any opportunity for Bathroom Breaks?
Yes. During the scene when Merida’s trying to get a physically transformed character out of the castle. That scene felt particularly over extended.
Overall Rating: B-
Recommended for children 7 and up.
Pros: Merida makes for a striking new character with tremendous potential. Impossibly beautiful animation. Charming regional music that accentuates the setting of the story.
Cons: Movie had 2 directors taking the helm at different points in the production of the movie which may explain the resulting disjointed story. Scare factor too high for young children.
Official Movie Trailer for “Brave”