This week, the latest of Pixar’s amazing films as well as the introduction to their first princess: BRAVE!
Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, and Steve Purcell
Writers: Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, and Irene Mecchi
Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson
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You know, it’s pretty sad when a film like Brave comes out and before anyone can even step in the midnight showing, a fair number of critics are putting it down. Not that critics being negative about a film is uncommon, of course. They’re critics. They’re basically paid to put down movies for whatever reason, and to forget they were ever kids at one point.
“Magic!? Well that’s a convenient plot device!”
“The story is so…SIMPLE!”
“The characters are all so forgettable!”
“It’s too goofy!”
“Such a disappointing presentation of Pixar’s first female protagonist!”
Two things: 1) SHUT IT! 2) What the hell is wrong with you people?
Ok, I will admit that this movie doesn’t immediately fall into my list of “Best Pixar Movies Ever” (The Incredibles and Wall-E are tied for #1), and it isn’t perfect. But since when does a movie have to be perfect to be good? You know what? Let’s discuss these points…
The use of magic in a story set in medieval Scotland in a FANTASY movie is “convenient”? A plot device it may be, but it’s used in a way that works excellently and convincingly emphasizes the drama that unfolds throughout.
The story is simple? Compared to Toy Story and other Pixar movies, that may be true. But why does a movie need to have a complex story in order to be considered “good” by critics? Fact is, what Brave may lack in complexity it more than makes up for in depth and character development. Speaking of which…
Forgettable characters? Forgettable characters!? Save the miscellaneous people in the backgrounds, none of the characters were “forgettable”. From Merida and her family to Lords MacGuffin, MacIntosh, and Dingwall (and their sons), every one of them find some way to stick in your memory. Your only excuse for forgetting them is if you have alzheimers. That or you’re just stupid, but I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt on that.
It’s too goofy!? Ok, well this may be the only legitimate complaint about the movie. While not overdone in my opinion, there are scenes that range from goofy slapstick to something pulled straight out of Looney Toons. The more extreme scenes to that regard are obviously aimed toward the *kids* in the audience, and unfortunately do feel out of place. That doesn’t make them any less funny however.
A disappointing presentation of Pixar’s first female protagonist…ok seriously, I must have seen a different movie than these people. What did you expect, for Merida to learn to believe in herself? She already believes in herself! The core of this movie revolves around the dynamics of a mother/daughter relationship and believable female character emotions that few movies outside of Lifetime dare to tread. Not only that, but we’re presented with a theme that is largely underused in the moralistic sense. “All actions have consequences”. Sure we see it in video games, but rarely in movies, and even more rare when that theme is attributed to more than just the primary protagonist!
All you really need to know about Brave is that it is a beautiful, heartfelt movie that takes a refreshingly strong stance in the dynamics between a mother and daughter that make up the emotional core of it all. Sure the script plays it safe in some respects, the storyline isn’t very complex, and the humor is a bit ridiculous at moments, but the good by far outweighs the bad, and none of those negate the fact that Brave is a wonderful movie experience. Merida takes the “Disney Princess” title and makes it her own, setting herself apart from all the others in a way that is sure to delight girls everywhere. Especially girls of the independent, headstrong, and determined inclination.
I give Brave: 8 / 10
You know what, forget about the critics and what they have to say about Brave, go see it for yourself! Though a word of advice to any guys that are approximately 27 years old like me: make sure to bring the kids or a significant other along (thank you honey) so that all the parents in the theater don’t look at you like Jerry Sandusky. What, too soon?