When I saw the first teaser for PIXAR'S latest foray into the animated movie world I didn't know what to think. I loved the Celtic aspect of it. It seemed like it would be a little mysterious, that's always a plus, then came the silly comedic characters that just seemed to make it less than stellar. The more spots I saw for this film the less I wanted to see it. It looked like it was going to be a movie that didn't have a proper identity, a movie that tries to be too many things maybe. Well after seeing BRAVE I was partially right.
The story is kept very simplistic. Princess Merida has become of age that her parents hold a contest to see who will win her hand in marriage and join the kingdoms together in harmony. Merida doesn't want to be forced into this and wants her own life and wants to make her own decisions so decides to set out on her own after a fight with her mother the Queen. Along her travels she comes across an old witch in which she employs to make her a potion to change her mother. This is where the trouble begins. I'd go on a bit further but for those who haven't seen it I don't want to ruin anything of what happens next.
The beginning of the movie seems like it wants to be a joyous comedy, a little bit of it works but not a lot. This is for the main fact that most of the funny at the beginning we have already seen in the many television ads. The movie doesn't really start to get good until Merida sets out on her own with her horse Angus. This is where the mystical parts of the movie start to unfold and these parts work very well. I just wasn't sure if it was going to hold up throughout the whole film.
PIXAR animation quality in BRAVE is top notch. Everything from the stunning vistas to the way the fabric is animated looks stunning. This movie is a sight to behold. I just wish they didn't choose such a simplistic story to tell in such a beautiful setting. The Celtic settings is wonderful, the music suiting, the story left a little bit to be desired. I feel their last great movie was WALL-E. They could have came up with an original tale set in the Celtic time period and I think it would have worked better.
This is a film that took three directors to handle. Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews and Steve Purcell. The problem I have with too many cooks in the kitchen so to speak, is that everyone has an idea of how the story should unfold and I believe this is where BRAVE gets it's identity crisis from. Chapman wrote the story as well, as Andrews and Purcell helped to form the screenplay. Again it didn't need this many writers and directors to make this story work. I do have to add one this that once Merida starts out on her journey I found the film found it's pacing and settled in nicely.
Merida was voiced by Kelly Macdonald. Fans of Boardwalk Empire will know her as the character Margaret Schroeder and to Harry Potter fans she was Helena Ravenclaw. She did a marvellous job portraying Princess Merida. She brought the spunk that the character needed to make her believable as a rebellious teenager. Her voice made the character spring to life and jump off the screen.
The King and Queen where played by Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson. Both did a remarkable job in bringing these characters to life. Connolly brought the humor to make the King light hearted but also showed strength when needed. Thompson brought the elegance and sternness to the role of the Queen that was needed to make the struggle between beloved mother and rebellious daughter believable on screen. This worked well and brought the on-screen tension between the two characters to life.
Patrick Doyle composed the music for the movie. This is a soundtrack that was most fitting and played well with the scenes. Nothing seemed out of place or overbearing which can be very distracting. His last couple of big movies were Thor and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, both of those scores were very fitting to their movies. He is a talent composer and hopefully be up for an Oscar for his work on BRAVE.
Overall it is an enjoyable film, that almost seems to lose tempo from the start. Once it settles in and finds it's pacing it becomes a more enjoyable film. It was better than what I was expecting and though I wished it was more of an original work and a little bit more of a darker toned film for PIXAR, one of these days they will have to make one, the film worked. It is not their best work, but far from the trash that we got as CARS 2. With BRAVE they have given Disney a new princess to add to their collection, and one this time that has spunk and can show that it only takes your heart to show everyone that you too can be BRAVE.
I give this movie 3.5 stars out of 5. An enjoyable film, but not quite the originality one expects from PIXAR.