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