Director: Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell
Written by: Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Mark Andrews, Irene Mecchi
Voiced by: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson.
Running time: 100 min.
Whenever I watch an animated film, the little kid always comes out in me. When the Disney introdutction came on, with all the fireworks bursting behind this huge fantastical castle, I saw a kid, maybe five years old, sitting in front of me jumping around in his seat in excitement. While I wasn't exhibiting the excitement in my heart in the same way, I felt exactly like him. And from the first moment I saw Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), the new Pixar heroine from their latest, Brave, with her beautifully curled red hair, I retreated to being the little kid that still lingers within my heart. That little kid that exists beyond the little film snob that I've become. Over the years (and the most recent years at that, since I wasn't a huge movie watcher as a really young child), I've laughed with animated movies, I've cried with animated movies, I've sat with big googly eyes in front of animated movies. Most of which have been Pixar movies. In fact, Toy Story 3 held the record for being the movie that made me cry the most until I saw Requiem for a Dream. Pixar has set the bar consistently high, even garnering themselves a spot in the Best Picture for two years in a row, before caving in with their misfire (but honestly not that terrible) Cars 2. Aiming to salvage the so-called 'mess' it created (OH NO! Pixar made a not so great film! The world ended for about two weeks!), Pixar is back with a new original effort. One that got the little kid inside of me to come out and show itself to the world, regardless of whether this will reserve Pixar a spot with the big-wigs in the Best Picture race next year.
|Basically my dream family. I love redheads!|
I thought Merida was one cool cat. She had wit, gusto and the most beautiful hair ever committed to an animated flick. Then again, watching a young princess dream for something more is not exactly the most original thing ever. Mind you, it is always somewhat empowering to watch a girl stand up for herself when most girls could only dream of that hopelessly artificial life of pampering. What Brave excels with the most, though, is an excellent mother/daughter relationship. Merida and Elinor appear to be the average mother and daughter with differing ideas of how Merida should spend her life, but then it starts to turn into something so much more. Every animated movie should come with a moral, and lord knows this movie and it's moral came at the right time. Merida is a force to be reckoned with, but she's got forceful reckoning, which leads her to make a mistake that culminates as one of the best morals I've seen come out of a film in a long time. Basically, I think she's a great role model for young girls - and those role models are in scarily short supply.
All throughout the movie I had the little kid inside me bursting out - to the point that I was actually in tears at the end - but I do admit that there were some glaring holes. It was far too short, and didn't have the 'wow' factor that, well, all of the other Pixar films have. Looking back, the large majority of the humour was based on slapstick, which sometimes failed, but most of the time it just went with the rough and tumble Scottish feel of things. However, the movie was consistently entertaining, and the visuals were as flawless as you could expect. If you spend the entire time holding this up against the other Pixar films, you'll only wind up feeling a bit empty. Hey, they can't always make great movies, but it is unfair to say this one sucks because it isn't as good as Toy Story 3. This film is every bit as good as anything I've seen from Pixar, and definitely ranks up in the top range of animated flicks. No Best Picture contender, no ground-breaker from the studio - just them doing what they do well: making wholesome movies for kids. Even if there was a little too much nudity for my liking.
Just a side note: the short film that played before it, La Luna, is definitely one of the cutest things I've seen in a while. My friends and I can't stop talking about it!
What I got: