Saturday, June 23, 2012


Rated PG for some scary action and rude humor
Starring Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, and Emma Thompson
Running time:  100 minutes

First, let my say from the get-go:  Parents, make note that this is NOT a G rated movie!  There are scary scenes that can definitely frighten younger and/or sensitive children.  I saw at least two families leave the movie theater because their children were scared by the large, loud, angry bears.

There, I got that warning out  of the way.  Now, let's talk about the movie.  Did I enjoy it?


Did my thirteen year-old daughter enjoy it?


Did my eighteen year-old, Pixar-loving son enjoy it?


In fact, if I hadn't been writing this review, I might have left before the movie was over.  It just isn't up to Pixar standards -- not by a LONG SHOT.

In summary, Merida is the daughter of Fergus, King of the Scottish clans. She's a feisty, active girl whose personality and desires don't match those befitting a princess.  Her mother, Elinor, is a strong queen and steadfast in her determination to groom Merida toward the fate of marrying a boy from one of the other clans - a fate (surprise, surprise) that Merida fights, by seeking the help of a witch to "change" her mother and thus change the direction of her own destiny. Unfortunately, the change is quite literal, and Elinor is transformed into a monstrously large, black bear. Merida must face her own pride and mend the horrible mistake she has made before the spell becomes permanent and she loses her mother forever. Does this happen? Yes. (surprise, surprise)

Now, it's not the predictability that makes Brave a yawner of a movie (literally - I yawned several times).  Most good kids movies - especially Disney and Pixar films - are predictable.  But it's the characters and the execution of the storytelling that make those movies shine and compels us to buy the DVD as soon as it's released (and watch it over and over again).  The characters in Brave are flat and stereotyped. There isn't one character, not even Merida that really tugs at the heart strings or makes you wish you knew them.  As for the storytelling - that is where I am especially disappointed.  The premise of a young, strong girl successfully fighting and overcoming obstacles while coming to a deeper understanding of being true to her roots, is a fantastic plot. We need more movies with strong female character role-models for girls and that is why I was so excited about Brave.  Sadly, for me, Pixar just didn't pull it off.  Not this time.

That being said, I saw some people in the theater who seemed to enjoy the movie.  If you saw Brave and thought it was worth seeing, please leave a comment and share your opinions.

My recommendation though:  if you want to see a good movie, rent any of the Toy Story movies or Up.  You'll have a much better time.  As for me, I'm going to pretend Brave didn't happen and hope that Pixar raises their standards back up for their next release.

Reviewed by Karen Cantwell


  1. *pout* Well shoot!

    I really wanted this to be awesome. I am going to trust your judgement and wait until it's out on cable.

  2. I saw it yesterday and have to respectfully disagree. Maybe because it had two things that I am predisposed to liking -- a strong young woman and anything set in the UK. However, enjoyable, the main thing I liked was how both women changed, not physically, but mentally. The princess realized she needed to blend honoring her obligations with figuring out how to stay true to herself, while her mother learned to lighten up.

  3. Thank you for weighing in, Karen! I know there are going to be people that really enjoy this movie. And indeed, the best part of this movie, for me, was the fact that the mother and daughter came to understand each other.

  4. My son, who is 5yrs old and loves superhero films was terrified for a huge portion of this film. This is the same child who went to see The Avengers and loved it, and that's a PG-13 movie. He considered leaving at one point and then decided he'd stay until the end because he believed it had to have a happy ending.

  5. My girl (6 y.o.) asked to leave when Momma Bear showed up even though she knew about the bears, and that it all turned out in the end, so the bear-aspect is quite scary for younguns. I loved the Scottish aspect of the film, and Merida is quite likeable. I think she'll make a good fit in the Disney Princess world. I can't say I loved Brave, but I didn't hate it either. The jokes weren't up to Pixar standards, but I thought the story was okay. I might give it another look when it comes out on DVD (to rent) or Netflix.

  6. Hello,
    Brave, which was previously titles The Bear and the Bow is an American computer-animated adventure film and is produced by Pixar Animation Studios.

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