Friday, July 13, 2012

Brave: an unspectacular fantasy

Brave, at its best, is a fairly enjoyable film with great visuals. It's something we've all come to expect from Pixar, but one thing this film lacks is what Pixar used to be best at: the story. There's no interesting spin on the Disney fairytale, other than the fact that the princess doesn't marry a prince at the end. For the longest time, Pixar had a great run telling these very imaginative stories in these worlds that you felt could go anywhere and do anything. Brave stuck too closely to a specific formula, it went to places you pretty much expected it to go, and at the end, it wasn't all that fun to watch. Pleasant? Enjoyable? Here and there. But the lack of imagination was all too abundant.

Princess Merida is a young red-headed Scottish princess; her father King Fergus, pretty much lets her do whatever she wants; her mother Queen Elinor, tries to teach her how to act like a princess much to Merida's chagrin. As a child, her father protected her from an angry bear which took his leg while he fought it off. Now, in her teens, she is to be betrothed to the first son of one of King Fergus's allied clans. This is news that Merida isn't too happy with.

She's so unhappy about it, in fact, that when she escapes during the Highland Games (where the suitors compete for her hand) she comes across a witch who agrees to give Merida a spell, intended for her mother, that would "change her fate." Of course, once she gives her mother the spell, things do not go as planned... and then her mother turns into a bear.

To me, it's as if the writers were running out of the ideas right about this time, wondering what they should do once the Queen takes the spell. And now obviously we're gonna spend time watching Merida and her mother try to cope as Merida has to explain that she MADE her mother turn into a fucking bear. Even though Elinor, at the end, changes back from being a bear (through a series of circumstances, you know how it goes), I would imagine it's not easy to forgive your daughter after something like that. After all, you've given her everything she could possibly need as a child.

The main problem with Brave is that the story just doesn't give Merida enough justification to poison her mother, turning her into a bear. Unless you're a child, it's kinda hard to feel too sorry for Princess Merida. Having to eventually marry a potential suitor kinda sucks, but later in the movie, it didn't take much for her to eventually convince the allied clans to nix that tradition altogether. There just wasn't enough to this fairytale story. This doesn't mean "Brave" is a bad movie, it's just a hugely disappointing one. It goes from point A to point B without ever really giving a good enough reason to go to point B. It's entirely too simplistic, especially for a Pixar movie.

Brave has some humorous moments and, as I said before, it's a pleasant watch, but its enjoyable moments came from little jokes and nice little visual touches. The movie had the promise to be a fate-changing fairytale movie, all we wound up with was a couple of one-dimensional characters turning into bears and the bitch that made it all happen.

Grade: C-

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