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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Movie Review: Brave

Brave  $$$ 1/2

100 Minutes
Starring: Kelly MacDonald, Emma Thompson, and Billy Connolly.
Director: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, and Steve Purcell.

            As usual, Pixar does a wonderful job with this film. Before I get into that I want to take a moment to comment about the short feature they included with it. I love that Pixar has brought back this form of micro entertainment to the theater. Not only is Luna a fun featurette, but it’s a nod to masterful storytelling. It demonstrates that conflict (which is at the heart of any true story) can be fun and light and that character can be developed without using a single understandable line of dialogue. For all of my fellow authors, take a moment to admire the craft that goes into creative and compact story.

            Moving on to the main event, we are introduced to Princess Merida (Kelly MacDonald). She is a free spirit who wants to choose her own destiny. Unfortunately she is the princess and expected to select a suitor from one of the three clans that are allied with her father’s kingdom. None of them are good matches for her, but even if they were she is headstrong and unwilling to accept the life that has been arranged for her.
            The opportunity to direct the helm of her own destiny is given to her when she follows a trail set by the will-o-wisps and encounters a witch. Merida purchases a spell from the witch that will change her mother and in doing so will change her destiny. As you can imagine, the change is not what Merida expected or wants and she must race to save her mother and her father’s kingdom.

            If I have to find a fault with this film it is in the fact that it is predictable. That’s not always a bad thing. You know coming into a Pixar film that it will be good family entertainment where we have a predictably satisfying ending and a host of laughs along the way. Let’s face it, that’s why we go to Pixar films in such large numbers. The story line is interesting and I especially love the Scottish setting of the story.
            The voice acting was seamless and the animation was beautiful. This is everything you expect from the Pixar studios. Normally, this is where I would make a comment about the villain and how he/she either made the film better or weakened the movie with their sub-standard appearance; however, there isn’t a true villain in the movie. The conflict in the film is provided by Merida and her mother Elinor (Emma Thompson) in a manner that makes the story all the more touching because of it.
            See this first run so you can enjoy all the color and sound in its best presentation, but you can probably wait for a bargain showing. While it caused me to tear-up in spots, I don’t find myself anxiously waiting for it to come out on DVD so I can purchase it, or a need to rush out and see it again right away. This is good fun and worth the money to see, but I don’t expect it to be the best movie of the year or even of the summer. 

            Randy’s Rating System

$$$$   = Full Price    See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$     = Matinee      Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$        = Discount     Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$          = Rental         Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0          = No Sale       Don’t see this movie at any price.


  1. I enjoyed this one too, but I didn't think all the naked behinds made sense for a family film.

    1. Doh, I forgot about that part. Very true, totally unnecessary to the story and not appropriate for a family movie.

  2. It doesn't really seem like much of a guy film. Someday maybe I'll watch it with my nieces, when they're old enough for that sort of thing.

    1. Good point. It is a story about a mother and daughter at odds with one another. However, I think the heart of the story applies to all of us.

  3. Well, although I can say that I definitely enjoyed the film, it just did not quite do it for me. Hey, it’s not my fault! Pixar should’ve thought twice about making such amazing films in the past. Movies like Wall-E and the Toy Story series set my expectations way too high! I’m not alone in that opinion either. My coworkers at Dish and I felt so let down by Brave that we had the undeniable urge to dig up some of the old classics. They are all available to be mailed to me on the Blockbuster@Home service I get through my Dish account, making it easy to satisfy my Pixar craving. I know it’s unfair for me to set my standards so high because Brave was a good movie. It just wasn’t a great movie! I’m sure Pixar will redeem themselves with Monsters Inc 2 though. Now that one I just can’t wait for!

    1. Thanks for the response. I agree that it was a good movie, but I have left other Pixar films feeling much more amped about the experience.