Friday, June 22, 2012

Review of Disney/Pixar Brave!

For their 13th film, Pixar gives us their take on the princess movie with Brave!

This film is a departure for Pixar in several ways. They have their first female protagonist and the story focuses on the mother/daughter relationship which is usually not the focus of many family movies.

Princess Merida is a free spirit, learning the ways of archery and sword fighting, while her mother, Queen Elinor, tries diligently to raise her in the ways of royal responsibility and tradition. One of these traditions being arranged marriages. For Merida, she would rather be shooting arrows, riding her horse Angus and climbing rocks than preparing to be married and become the Queen. After a heated argument between mother and daughter, Merida rides her horse into the woods. In the woods she encounters a trail of will o'wisps that of course end up changing her fate. In an effort to remain as spoiler free as possible, I won't get into how everything comes together. I'll just say that even the trailers do a good job of hiding what is in store.
The film itself is gorgeous! I would dare to say that this is the best looking Pixar film to date. The Scotland countryside looks photorealistic! The ocean, the beards, the fur on the animals and of course Merida's flaming red hair looks amazing! Pixar has taken their animation to the next level! They have even rewritten their animation software for the first time. Called Presto, the new software was created to help with animation complexity issues where there are many characters involved in the same scene.

The score, created by Scotland native Patrick Doyle is impressive. He used a mix of traditional instruments as well as modern ones to weave a score that simply soars.  Adding to the impressive score is the voice of
Julie Fowlis who sings several songs throughout the movie. Her voice is pure and full of beauty and clarity. I imagine that this is what Merida would sound like if she sang in the movie.

Now Brave is not without some flaws. It is darker than most Pixar films and I can see young children being scared.  Though I did watch Brave with a rather large audience of families and no one was scared. The story does falter in the second act and has sort of a hard time getting back on track. But still Brave sits in about the middle of their library for me. It's not the top tier of a Toy Story or a Finding Nemo but it does sit better than A Bug's Life for me. I did enjoy the relationship between the Merida and Elinor. The humor level is fantastic though I'm not sure how I feel about the brief nudity. That brought it down to more of a Dreamworks level of humor for me. All in all a great movie about relationships and taking responsibility for one's actions.

Brave is in theaters now!

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