24 June 2012 | jeev7882
A Brave New Film From Pixar
There's quite a bit about Brave that has marked it as a departure from Pixar's typical fare. The most memorable trailer was one of the best scenes from the movie, with Merida protesting her marriage by shooting for her own hand. That scene alone showcases the detail and quality of animation we've come to expect from Pixar. No other studio has managed to come near what they do. The motion of the characters is natural. Merida's gorgeous curly red hair is distracting in its details only at the perfect times. And, most impressively, when Merida holds her breath to shoot her last arrow the audience holds its collective breath as we watch her arrow shoot away in slow motion and in a beautiful use of depth of field that reminds us why 2D is still highly preferred to 3D.
That's not to say Brave is quite as visually astonishing as Sully's fur in Monsters Inc., the magical underwater world of Finding Nemo, or a landfill laden Earth in Wall-E. But, in some ways, it's not meant to be. We're dealing with a primarily human cast for once, and ones meant to look very different than the ones in Up.
Beyond the animation, the story is somewhat flat. The trailers do an excellent job of concealing the twists, but the twists are all easy to see well ahead of time. The story revolves around Princess Merida who is continually at odds with her Mother, Elinor. At the center of their arguments: marriage. Merida is to be married to the first born of one of the leaders of the other three clans. She'll have none of it as she'd much rather ride off on her own and perfect her archery skills than sit at home and be a proper Princess. In her more childish qualities, she's like her father: an overgrown warrior child who also happens to be King. It's not a bad story, but it's certainly a little too basic. Most people will most likely find the lack of creativity in the script's details the biggest disappointment in Brave. There's no moments where we marvel "how did these guys come up with this?"
It's a pity because Merida is one of the best protagonists Pixar has been blessed with. She's likable and hate-able in all the right ways. She has quite a bit of bratty teenager in her - as evidenced by the lack of morality she displays in trying to change her mother's mind about her upcoming betrothal - and yet heaps of bravery - as she shows when confronted with what she's done to her Mother. The best part about Merida and the story is that she's the one continually driving it forward and making the choices. That proves vital as the film doesn't really have a villain. This isn't a good vs. evil battle like all their other movies not named Finding Nemo.
Brave falls somewhere in the middle for Pixar. It's great that it's original (especially with Pixar selling out and giving us Monster's Inc. 2 and Toy Story 4 shortly), it's great the protagonist is female and so well rounded, and it's great the animation is somewhat subdued for once. I can't help but feel that Brave lacks some of the magic and creativity that really separate the upper echelon of Pixar's best work from the rest of it. Of course, that'll still probably be enough to make it the best animated movie of the year.
For more reviews like this one as well as other movie musings, go to http://thethreeacts.wordpress.com/