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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Nov 27: Brave

Tuesday

Nov 27: Brave

"Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse."
Directed by: Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, Rated: PG, 93 minutes

Pixar is falling to pieces. It's a sad fact and I hate admitting it but it's true. Ending with one of its greatest films (Toy Story 3), Pixar has seemingly came full circle and now everything afterwards is just not really worth it. Cars 2 is a disgrace and is a sequel no one but kids and merchandisers asked for. If Pixar ever showed signs of slowing down it was with Cars 2, and all hope for the animation studio regaining its composure was put into this year's Brave. Unfortunately, the film is a complete mess and doesn't feel like a Pixar classic at all. It's unimaginative, horribly paced, and probably one of the more childish movies I've seen from the studio. Brave is a generic waste of time and I am so disappointed with Pixar.

She must have so much hair in her food...

Merida (Kelly McDonald) is a young princess (because we don't have enough of those already) who's rebellious and lives her life against the grain, never wanting to do the training her mother (Emma Thompson) wants her to do and never wanting to become the queen she's destined to be. Luckily, her rather rambunctious father (Billy Connolley) allows Merida her moments of freedom and time with archery, something she's very good at. After a fight with mommy, Merida runs off into the woods and encounters a witch. She tells the hag that she wants her mother to change and the witch conjures up a little tart to present to mom that will most certainly make things a bit different around the dinner table. Unfortunately for Merida, the changes are a bit too drastic for her own good, and a curse is placed upon her mother, leaving Merida with only 48 hours to stop it before it becomes permanent.

Believe it or not, there's very little of this that actually happens in the film. 

Brave never feels like something that sprung from the minds and imaginations of the once-genius animators at Pixar. The story is the same story we've seen hundreds of times before, disguised as something just a little bit different. With lush, very realistic scenery and terrific visuals, Brave at first glance is something special. However, as the film drags on, even that luster begins to fade and you can tell what parts were given more attention than the rest. Merida's hair is rendered really well and the bright orange color contrasts well with the green of Scotland, but at times, you can tell it's the only thing that was paid attention to. A large part of the story features a bear and after the animal is introduced, it sticks out as something poorly made, and the fur on it's back looks neglected compared to Merida's fiery mane. It's a shame more attention wasn't paid to the details because once you notice one, it slowly drives you insane.

Oh my God! There's a poorly rendered bear right behind you!

If the hit and miss visuals weren't enough to scare you away, Brave lacks any imagination in the story it tries so hard to tell. The pacing is awful and jumps from family melodrama to stupid kid humor in the blink of an eye. In it's more fun moments, Brave tries to pack in as much jokes as possible, all of which are far from being THAT funny. Sure, there are a couple of chuckles in the mess, but they are far from enough to save the film. As for the actual story, there's very little originality in it and from the very beginning you can predict where it's headed. By the movie's conclusion, you feel no satisfaction as you've seen it all before and are more happy that the whole thing's over than anything else. Pixar may be owned by Disney (who's still putting itself back together), but there are few excuses to allow such mediocrity from the studio. With a streak has strong as the one it has, a film like Brave coming out of nowhere and really disappointing is almost unforgivable.

Luxor Jr. is a little dimmer these days...

Brave is a hard film to really breakdown and review. As a stand alone movie, it's above average and has technical moments worthy of praise. As a Pixar film, it's terrible and one of the worst they have made (it gives Cars a run for its money if that tells you anything). It's a movie that's completely lacking any imagination or thought and the magic we're promised in this fairy tale is almost non-existent. Our heroine is hard to root for and her actions are more careless than anything else. Very little depth is put into her and the rest of the characters and any emotion we're supposed to feel is shallow, if anything. However, I won't recommend staying away from Brave, as I know many people will see it regardless  but I will warn you that it's far from anything else we've seen from Pixar. Here's hoping that next year's Monsters University will restore some of the faith I have lost. Mike and Sully can't let me down. Right?... 

The Good:
visuals that create a vibrant world set in a very green wilderness (but has moments of blah)
The Bad:
a predictable story that does nothing new with the princess/fairy-tale story
The Ugly:
Pixar completely losing itself in the past couple of years and very little hope or signs that it's repairing itself

Overall: 6.1/10

Discussion Question:
Where does Brave rank in Pixar's filmography?

Trailer:

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11 Comments:

At November 27, 2012 at 11:20 PM , Blogger TheVern said...

I dont think it was as bad as Cars, but it is not one of their best. I agree the genre switch from melodrama to comedy was quick and felt out of place

 
At November 27, 2012 at 11:20 PM , Blogger Nick said...

The more I think about it, the more upset I get. More frustrating...

 
At November 28, 2012 at 12:54 AM , OpenID daveexaminesmovies said...

Cars 2 was a joke

 
At November 28, 2012 at 5:01 AM , Blogger Shane said...

Yeah, this film is just a mixed up movie for some reason. I saw it in the theater and felt bad that I made my daughter sit through it because it's kind of scary for kids and the message sucks. You're right, the more I think about it this movie gets under my skin.

 
At November 28, 2012 at 11:12 AM , Blogger Sati. said...

Oooh, sorry you didn't like it more, though I actually rated it only slightly better than you. I did love how the film focused on mother-daugther relationship and I loved the lead heroine.

I agree that the pacing was really off here, I was very bored in the middle of the film.

 
At November 28, 2012 at 11:19 AM , Blogger Nick said...

Indeed it is.

 
At November 28, 2012 at 11:19 AM , Blogger Nick said...

Glad to know my word of hate has spread to you :).

 
At November 28, 2012 at 11:21 AM , Blogger Nick said...

Sure, it focused on that relationship but the mother is really the only character to learn anything... Merida didn't really change that much over the course of the movie.

 
At November 28, 2012 at 4:53 PM , Anonymous Belinda said...

I didn't feel like merida or her mothers reactions to the situation were very accurate for some parts. And it just was not what the preview made it seem like it would be. I enjoyed the father.

 
At November 29, 2012 at 7:25 PM , OpenID brainsnorts said...

i soooo wanted to love this movie for several reasons. first and foremost, merida looks a lot like my older daughter, and their attitudes match too. also, i go to disney every year, sometimes twice. there were movie posters for brave scattered around disney about 3 years before its release, so i had an anticipation for it, and it was unfairly boosted.

as i'm watching the film, i could see they just had no diretion. when the queen turned into a bear, i thought "WTF?" and then i could see they were pretty much just making it up as they were going along. it borrowed elements from "aladdin," "brother bear," "the little mermaid," and one or two other films, which shows it just wasn't a solid story on its own. sad.

 
At November 29, 2012 at 8:35 PM , Blogger Nick said...

glad to know such an avid Disney Man like yourself was just as disappointed. it really really missed the mark.

 

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