Brave is Pixar's 13th film, and, like all Pixar Films before it, will debut #1 at the box office. According to Box Office Mojo it made around $24 million on Friday, while Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, this weekend's other big debut, was a very distant second at $6 million.
But does Brave live up to the standards set by Pixar's magical stock of animated films, minus those two shitty Cars movies? Hit the jump to see my full review.
WARNING! HEAVY SPOILERS BELOW. DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU!
Let's just get this out of the way right now: To me, Brave pretty much sucked, and I will end up placing it at #11 on my soon to be updated countdown of Pixar movies, with the two Cars movies the only ones below it. I wasn't entertained or intrigued at any point throughout the movie, which is pretty disappointing considering the Emeryville, California studio's previously almost spotless track record. Alas, this movie seems to be built more towards pleasing the younger viewers in the audience, and the river of money is already flowing.
Let's start from the beginning, shall we? Before the film the audience was treated to the Oscar Nominated Animated Short La Luna, directed by Enrico Casarosa. It was, like most Pixar shorts, excellent. But let's get to the feature......
Brave takes place in the highlands of 10th century Scotland. A young Merida (who's older version we see for the majority of the film is voiced by Boardwalk Empire's Kelly Macdonald) is given a bow by her father, King Fergus (Billy Connolly) for her birthday, despite the protests of her bitchy mother Elinor (Emma Thompson). When trying it out for the first time, a giant, ugly bear named Mor'd attacks, and while Merida and her mother are escaping, King Fergus fights it off, eventually getting his leg torn off, which gushed buckets of blood. Ok, this is a kids film, so that very last part was shown off screen. Despite the obvious horrific-ness of the incident, the King loves telling that story to his small children at dinner.
Fast forward to Merida as a teenager. She is taught the ins and outs of being a princess by her mother, a scene that took about three times as long as it should have. Elinor has also given birth to identical triplet redhead monsters of boys since the incident with Mor'd.
The triplet brothers. They got annoying fast. Early on there were two or three different sequences showing how clever they are and how much they like to steal pastries. Yeah, we get it, but you know what I didn't get? Their names. I don't remember if they were ever given.
Merida is not too excited when she learns of the news that she is to be married off to a first-born son of one of three different Scottish Lords, Macintosh, MacGuffin, and Dingwall, who will all compete for her hand. Quick question: She seemed a little too shocked for me, Didn't she see this coming?
Early on the movie starts dragging. The whole competition for her hand is loaded with clumsiness, and slapstick that seemed to get old even for the kids who laughed the first twenty times somebody got tripped or bonked on the head. It's mercifully brought to a rebellious end by Merida herself.
This move didn't please the queen, who, after about two minutes of generic bickering, threw Merida's prized bow into a fireplace.. Merida cries and rides out into the wilderness on her horse. Then she gets to the wisps. Oh those fucking wisps. They lead her to a witch's hut, where Merida bargains with said witch for a spell that will "change her mother", which she believes will also change her fate. She is given a magical pastry of some sort and not given any instructions on how to use it. Merida, who seems less wise by the minute, just takes it and rides home.
Let me go back to the "change her mother" part. That's all she asks for, nothing specific really. So her mother eats it, and changes into a bear, one that looks somewhat similar to Mor'd. Merida is, again, shocked, but WHAT THE FUCK DID SHE EXPECT?
Man, when her mother changes into the bear, it was especially groan inducing. There was a solid five minutes of her mom, getting used to her new form, crashing into things over, and over, and over again. Merida knows that mother bear is fucked if her dad and the dozens of warriors downstairs catch wind of it, and enlists her three evil little triplet brothers to help them escape the castle. They must now find a way to reverse the spell before it becomes permanent in two days or some shit like that (at that point I wasn't really caring too much).
Those wisps, again. Later, after Merida followed them to the witch's hut and got royally screwed with the situation, she follows them again. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? Yes, it ends up as her saving grace the way she is able to SOMEHOW figure out how to reverse the spell, but comon. And that leads me to another point: Merida just isn't very likeable. She's kind of a spoiled brat if you ask me, and not much of a hero, more of a fuck up who had to reluctantly take care of business.
I'm not gonna explain the rest of the story, just bits of pieces of what I liked (which wasn't a whole lot) and disliked, starting with the dislikes:
There is no definite villain in this film, in fact, the person who causes the most trouble is Merida herself. Yes, Mor'd shows up a couple times, but I really didn't feel he was important in the whole scheme of things. There was also a lack of romance, which of course isn't necessary, but it might have added a little depth to a storyline that was thin at best.
Brave is a very unbalanced movie, to boot. While a lot of the content was directly aimed at children, including the slapstick elements, those same children sure as shit weren't too excited about the darker scenes, including a violent fight between Mor'd and mother bear at the end. Rika and I heard more than one kid balling his eyes out and demanding to leave the theater. Speaking of dark, this movie was just that, with much of the film taking place in a not so well lit castle at night, it was hard to see what was going on at times, especially with the blurry 3D effects.
The likes. Although the animation is not groundbreaking, the hair was the most realistic of any animated film I had seen. Ummmmmmmm........hmmmmm I guess I just didn't like this movie much at all. Sorry folks, but like I said, I thought it kinda sucked. Don't worry, Pixar still rules, but missed the mark this time (for me at least).Grade: D+