Review: 'Brave' is not Pixar's best, but better than 'Cars'
'Brave' is more Disney-like than Pixar's best work, but the best thing about the film is heroine Merida.
Merida, the Scottish princess in the Pixar 3-D animated feature â€śBrave,â€ť is a tomboy who knows her way around a bow and arrow. I donâ€™t think â€śThe Hunger Gamesâ€ť crowd will necessarily cross over into Disney territory, but itâ€™s nice to think that there is now at least one more feisty female role model in the movies â€“ even if she is digital.
Merida is the best thing about â€śBrave,â€ť which, although technically up to Pixarâ€™s standards, is more conventional â€“ more Disneyish â€“ than that studioâ€™s best work. It lacks the intricacy of imagination that made films like â€śThe Incrediblesâ€ť and â€śFinding Nemoâ€ť so exhilirating. On the other hand, itâ€™s a whole lot better than the â€śCarsâ€ť movies. Iâ€™m glad to see the Pixar people have pulled themselves out of that rut.
Pixar is noted for the â€śheartâ€ť it injects into its stories. In â€śBrave,â€ť the core relationship is between Merida (voiced by Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald) and her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), who is turned into a bear by a witch. How these two survive, while attempting to cast off the witchâ€™s spell, is alternately touching and (deliberately) silly. Their scenes together are in a different, more emotionally incisive key than the slapstick ribaldry involving the one-legged King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and the parade of woebegone suitors Merida rejects. No envelopes are pushed in â€śBrave,â€ť which was directed by Brenda Chapman and Mark Andrews, and no genres are subverted. Itâ€™s a safe experience; but safe, in this case, is better than sorry. Grade: B (Rated PG for some scary action and rude humor.)