REVIEW: Brave

Since its inception, Pixar Animation Studios have always been recognised as the organisation that have collaborated with Walt Disney Pictures and provided us with masterpieces within the animation genre featuring different characters and varied aspects of realistic and fictional life. For the very first time, Pixar had disappointed us with Cars 2 and to possibly revive that and bring back that symbol of hope, there was a lot on Brave and its maker’s shoulders. They’d not only create for their first individual project since Up in 2009 but also make an attempt at a fairy tale, which is what their colleagues at Disney have specialized in over the years. Nevertheless, although there was a rather original idea behind Brave, it did prove itself worthy as an overall success but it is not quite on that superior level among Pixar’s greatest.

Throughout this era of filmmaking, we have seen Pixar compete against DreamWorks Animations and have almost always come out on top. However, although Brave is quite possibly the best Pixar to date regarding animated effects and had successfully managed to provide us with on-going gags, it lacked the charm, the magic and the excitement that we should have – a bit like a DreamWorks Animations feature. Like quite a few of their works, the plot of Brave occasionally turned rather dry, surprisingly felt a tad corny and lost its grasp at emotionally engaging the viewers. Furthermore, following a twist mid-way through, it became an entirely different film. Instead, from a story about a young fulfilling her destiny as a highly talented archer, it transformed into a story connected with Mulan and Brother Bear. You can just tell where Pixar are slowly losing their touch in developing brand new stories and it really needs fixing. The 3D experience was not entirely worth it either.

For the first time, Pixar select a female protagonist, who follows in the footsteps of Belle, Jasmine, Snow White and other Disney Princesses. Yet at the same time, Princess Merida, Pixar’s latest hero, is one on her own and is not the next Disney Princess as she is a tomboy and has personal passions and has a mild rebellious side to her. This still makes her a beautiful young girl with a big heart. Due to this approach, she is perhaps more appealing to the kids than the adults. Furthermore, Pixar have given us different characters that are either deadly serious with a realistic touch or are on a more comical and wacky level (not necessarily a bad thing). In the role of Princess Merida was Kelly MacDonald has she executed these varied characteristics impressively and with the dazzling animated effects, she is still a likable leading character.

Throughout practically every film that we have seen featuring a king and/or queen whether historical or fictional, we have witnessed life on their behalf and their pressures and difficulties. With Brave’s King Fergus and Queen Elinor, the traditional behaviours of the royals are still maintained, but Pixar unusually and at the same time, creatively manage to add a comical and humorous touch. These are illustrated within each of these two characters. First, Queen Elinor is the more serious of the two as she plays the role of a strict queen wanting what’s best for her kingdom. Also, she has a sensitive side as a mother and eventually sparks an emotional connection with her daughter Merida. English actress Emma Thompson pulled off an impressive performance as Elinor with a very acute Scottish accent. Furthermore, Scottish comedian and actor Billy Connolly comfortably fits into the role of King Fergus. The majority of the humour comes from Fergus and is undoubtedly the strongest character. Finally, the most disappointing aspect of characters within Brave was the very low involvement of the primary antagonist – simply known as the Witch, who was portrayed by Julie Walters. Films, especially ones made by Disney, always need a villain to play a crucial part in order to bring forth the battle of good vs. evil but in that sense, Brave became very un-traditional.

Overall, Brave may have contained certain plot aspects that we have witnessed multiple times over the years, but it is still a beautifully animated, funny and entertaining Pixar film. It perhaps does not entirely feature the emotional attachment and a thought-provoking message for its older viewers, but it is a motion picture that kids will get more enjoyment from. Pixar could have done more with Brave but it deserves to be classed as another success from Pixar and a symbol of hope for them to get back on their feet again after Cars 2.

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~ by SJMJ91 on 27/08/2012.

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