Saturday, June 23, 2012



As I promised, I am being more attentive to this blog. Today I am here to review Pixar's newest film, Brave. I was debating between this film and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, both were on my short list for June. But I ultimately decided on the up lifting animated adventure.

Pixar has always been amazing at creating films that, on the surface, are for children, but have so much depth that it's usually the adults who leave with tears in their eyes. Brave certainly fits in with all the other Pixar masterpieces. As expected, it is visual magic, and eye candy of the highest quality. But, to be honest, it's not the best film they have put out. That title still goes to Cars in my opinion. That being said, it is still a heartwarming, action packed, and oddly funny adventure with one of the best heroines ever imagined.

This film is full of strange surprises at every turn, and it is impossible to review the film with out revealing some of them, so if you don't want spoilers, stop reading now.

The frist thing that surprised me, was the tone of seriousness that persisted throughout the film. I have a hard time categorizing this film as anything other than a drama-adventure, punctuated with comedic moments. It is not like Cars where characters crack joke, after joke. Its more like Toy Story 2, where the jokes are rather superfluous to the overall story, and really serve to break up the dramatic moments.

The story begins with young Merida, the crimson haired, Scottish, princess living a normal life with her parents, the King and Queen of a small, but proud, kingdom. Merida is a free spirit, and very much at odds with her status as princess. She feels most comfortable practicing archery, riding her horse, Angus, and cracking jokes with her father, Fergus (Bill Connolly). However, her mother Elinor has high expectations of her daughter, and forces her to dress and behave in a manner befitting a well mannered princess.

It is so easy to fall in love with Merida, and she comes off as a very real, and very dynamic character. She has so much energy, and light, that you can't help but get sucked into her story. A lot of this comes from the spectacular animation. Pixar only has a handful of notable human characters and Merida outshines them all. Her facial expressions are so detailed and honest. They were not cartoonish or exaggerated. They looked like the real facial expressions one would expect from a 17 year old girl, from the subtle lip movements, to the expression in her eyes.

As the film continues, the Queen tells Merida that she is to be married, much to the King's disdain. The leaders and their sons of the three kingdom realms will come together and compete in a contest, as chosen by Merida. The winner of the challenge will win the princesses hand in marriage. Needless to say, Merida is less than enthusiastic about the idea, especially considering her options. After a poor showing from her suitors, Merida defies her mother and attempts to win her own hand by besting the boys in the contest. This does not have the effect Merida desires, and only seeks to create a further divide between her and the Queen. This divide causes Merida to seek a way to alter her fate by changing her mother.

Another big surprise in this film, is the lack of magic. When I saw the trailer, I expected a magical adventure on the level of Alice in Wonderland or something similar, but the magic in this film only serves as a catalyst for Merida's adventure. It is not a magically saturated film, which I thought was an interesting choice. It rooted the film in reality, which is a breath of fresh air from a production company that asks us to suspend disbelief in every film.

Now some of you who have seen the film may say, 'What are you talking about? There is a sneaky witch, magical potions, and Merida herself seeks a spell to change her fate." Yes, that is all true, but that is not what the majority of the film focuses on. In fact, the film focuses much more heavily on the realistic aspect of Merida's struggle for independence. And that is what makes the film so compelling to me.

The serious nature of the film and the realistic approach to the story, I think, it has prompted people to say this film has no heart. Don't believe anyone who says that! This film will play differently to each person, which is why I am going to ask you to disregard any review you read (including this one) and just go see it. The film focuses on real human emotions, and real human struggles. If you are looking for colorful taking fish or throw away childish humor, you are going to be disappointed. This film is not trying to appeal to the kid inside of all of us, its not winking at us, and it doesn't exist to make us laugh. It is a real story, with real characters, and real lessons to be learned. This film is very different from any other film Pixar has ever done, and they are blazing the trail with their courageous and unique stories.

A- : Not Pixar's best, but still a Pixar film, lovely, moving, original

Pictures off google.

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