Movie Review: Brave
Movie Review: Brave (2012)
Director(s): Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell
Plot: Long long ago in a kingdom far far away….
There was a Pixar Princess story about a girl who didn’t want to be a princess (which is funny, because market research shows this is exactly why Disney got out of the Princess movies). Instead, she wanted to be a warrior and be independent from her parents – specifically her mother, who was more traditional and wanted her to follow in her footsteps.
So, instead of actually listening to her parents, she decides to go out into the woods and find a witch, who allows her to change her fate and not have to follow in her mother’s footsteps.
Seriously, if I talk about the plot any more than this there will be spoilers…so I’ll avoid it.
Brave is a very weak effort from a studio that has brought us such amazing flicks (and the two Cars movies…somehow those came from the same studio as Up and The Incredibles). It’s still a decent enough flick. Visually it’s a treat, and the audio and music are fantastic. It’s the story where this movie is sorely lacking.
Trying to be a princess fantasy movie that BEGS to defy the conventions of princess movies, the flick really falls flat with its story. Without giving away any spoilers, my main problem with this movie is there are no consequences – and therefore, no lesson for the disobedient daughter. It’s her mother who learns a lesson at the end…but the mother isn’t the main character. So why does your supporting character have the character journey and evolve, while your main character stays exactly the same?
There were also several missed opportunities surrounding legends in the flick. The story really tries to focus on the main character and her relationship with her mother, but by the end it’s talking about the legend of their clans and the origin of the kingdom – wouldn’t it have been nice to have opened with that legend, a la Beauty and the Beast? Give us some background on why this is important and why her mother believes what she does.
The motivation of a rebellious teenage daughter is nothing new – so we don’t need a lot of information on what is essentially a naive and surface-level spoiled brat. Honestly, I found myself siding more with the father in all this – the guy who was able to balance having fun and his responsibilities. It has nothing to do with the fact that he’s a dude – it’s because his character is the most balanced of the bunch. The mom is all about responsibility, and the daughter is all about fun. They’re each half of the character of the father.
Then there’s the little brothers who don’t speak – which, as soon as they appeared on screen I instantly thought of the minions from Despicable Me. They’re just there for comic relief. They don’t really add to the story – they just make the kids in the theater laugh.
The music was fantastic, however. With lots of vocal numbers that seemed to fit the tone of the flick. The visuals were also gorgeous, as is with most Pixar flicks. The animators must have spent an incredibly ridiculous amount of time studying hair.
In the end, while gorgeous and sporting an incredible soundtrack, this was Pixar’s weakest flick in terms of plot and character development. I’m sure the kids would like it, though, and heck – it’s still leagues better than Cars.