Brave - the first Pixar princesson June 21, 2012 @ 9:25 am (Updated: 10:55 am - 6/21/12 )
"Brave" suffers a bit from too narrow a focus. It's great on the essentials but shortchanges the little stuff. (Disney image)
Disney animation has a long storied line of princesses, but Pixar, now a part of Disney, hadn't gone down that route ... until now, with "Brave."
"Brave" tells the tale of a young Scottish princess, Merida, who'd rather be a tomboy than a dutiful daughter and prospective wife. This naturally puts her into conflict with her mother, the Queen.
This family battle comes to a head early in the movie, during an archery contest. First prize, the hand of our heroine, Merida. She'll have nothing of it and secretly enters herself into the contest and, of course, she wins. She also earns her mother's severe disapproval.
All of this only sets the stage for the bulk of the
involves a daughter's wish, a witch's curse, and a mother's literal transformation.
Like almost all of the Pixar films, but especially the Toy Stories, "Wall-E," and "Up," "Brave" has an emotional center that rings very true. This movie is great at capturing the mother-daughter dynamic, that complex love- hate-love bond that's unlike any other.
Its resolution at film's end is emotional in the same way that the Toy Story 3 finale or the photo album sequence in Up is. It's what Pixar does best.
Where "Brave" falls down a bit is in the peripheral storytelling. In the best Pixar films, the supporting characters are as richly and lovingly drawn as the leads - "Toy Story" is so much more than Woody, and "Finding Nemo" is more than just Nemo - but outside of Merida and the queen, "Brave" doesn't have too much more to offer. The King is a very loud and broad creature and Merida's three suitors are all ridiculous in rather uninteresting ways.
"Brave" suffers a bit from too narrow a focus. It's great on the essentials but shortchanges the little stuff. There's nothing more worthy of dramatic exploration than the intense mother-daughter dynamic. It's just that "Brave" needn't have excluded so much of the rest of the world in the process, did it?
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