Film Review: Brave

BRAVE is the latest animation from Pixar, and sad to say I was not particularly excited by it. It didn’t help that the theatre I went to see it in decided to save some electricity and project it on the dim side, grr. But compared to most any Pixar film I have seen, and I’ve seen nearly all of them save for Monsters Inc. and the Cars films, it was rather flat and felt more like a mid-2000 Disney product contentwise. It did not help that the original director and story creator Brenda Chapman had been replaced partway through the production with not one but two other directors. Four writers are credited. It’s basically an overabundance of cooks in the kitchen scenario.

In brief, Princess Merida (Kelly MacDonald) is a willful tomboy sort who cannot stand to be ladylike. She gets into constant run-ins with her prim and proper mother Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), who cannot understand that her daughter wishes to run her own life unfettered by rules, propriety and other such nonsense. Merida goes so far as to commission a forest witch (Julie Walters) to create a spell that will make Elinor get off her back. What she did not expect was that it would transform her into a large bear, and one doomed to remain as such unless their broken relationship is mended. But all is righted in the end, so there you have it.

The mother-daughter relationship was the only really novel aspect to the film, as it was inspired by Ms. Chapman’s real life experiences with her own daughter. Unfortunately, the film has a rather poor combination of feeling overloaded and underfulfilling all at once. Lots of madcap humor and frenetic slapstick take the place of any more nuanced story or character study, it’s so busy-busy-busy I felt like I was watching something from Blue Sky. There are additional plot add-ons that do nothing for the main story, and only bog down the pace. I will admit there are some nice effects, I like the will-of-the-wisps that inhabit the forest and overall the animation is fluid and pleasant when it slows down long enough to breathe.

Ugh. I was bored while watching it, and have little to say now that it’s been over a week since I saw it. I can’t recommend it.

Viewed on June 22nd, 2012 at the Carmike Theatre in Fort Wayne IN (where I saw PROMETHEUS the week prior, also with dim projection. Wake up, Carmike, or next time I’m out there I’ll go to the Rave instead! *harumphs*)


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