Friday, June 22, 2012

Review: Brave [2012]

Release Date: 21 June 2012 (Malaysia), 22 June 2012 (USA)
Directed By: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell
Written By: Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Irene Mecchi
Voiced By: Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connoly, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, Robbie Coltrane
Duration: 100 minutes
In A Nutshell:
Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) is the eldest child of Queen Elinor (voiced by Emma Thompson) and King Fergus (voiced by Billy Connoly). Frustrated by her controlling mother and the rules that comes along with being a princess, Merida defies an age-old custom that in-turn infuriates the other three Lords of the Kingdom. A quarrel with her mother leads her running off to the woods where she meets a witch that can help her change her fate. Unfortunately the spell she gets from the witch is more than she bargained for. It is up to Merida to set things right.

Thumbs Up:
+ Visually stunning, even when considering that most animations nowadays are beautiful to look at
+ Princess Merida is an engaging character, well worth her place alongside other Disney princesses
+ Plenty of humour especially provided by Merida's triplet brothers
+ Although not as strong, the mother-daughter relationship manages to evoke authentic emotional responses from the audience
+ Nice soundtrack
Thumbs Down:
- Not as much adventure or mystical elements in the film as I had hoped
- The story involving Mor'du The Bear should have been explored more
- The ending lacks a strong impact
- Film's duration feels too short

The Verdict Is In:
So Pixar is back for its first original story in three years. Even after my disappointment with Cars 2 [2011] last year, there are mainly four things I expect from a Pixar feature: (1) Great and groundbreaking story (2) Impeccable visuals (3) Emotional tug of the heart (4) Overall excitement and humour. For the first criteria, there's nothing extraordinary about the story but it still manages to entertain. In terms of visuals, this film really is a delight. The scenery is mesmerising while the details to Merida's hair especially is really a standout. What about the emotional tug of heart? There's no abundance of its presence, but its still there. Fourth and final criteria? I would like to have seen more adventure, but the action scenes keep it exciting and overall it is humorous. So considering everything, it might not belong with the Pixar's heavyweights (WALL-E [2008], Up [2009], The Toy Story Trilogy [1995-2010], and The Incredibles[2004] ), but it is still a success.

Brave was initially titled The Bear And The Bow and directed by Pixar's first female director, Brenda Chapman. However half way through production, Pixar's Brain Trust didn't like the direction the movie was headed and decided to replace Chapman with Mark Andrews. I wonder if in the original version of the story the emphasis was on Mor'du The Bear because it does seem that this current version would have been a lot more interesting if they explored this story a little bit more. In fact I wouldn't have felt that the story was too short if they did, although 100 minutes is pretty normal for a film nowadays.

So then, a welcoming return to form to my favourite film studio. But I have to say its a bit disheartening when I read some early reviews that absolutely massacre this film. I can see where people might not like it and I definitely can accept different views but it really is hard for me when I see critics award the movie grades like "D" and say things like "I'm surprised the film was ever green-lilt". Even more so when films like Conan The Barbarian [2011], Green Lantern [2011], Journey 2: The Mysterious Island [2012], and Immortals [2011] receive much higher ratings. Like I said, I can understand people not liking this, but acting like this is one of the worst movies of the year and should never be made is taking it way too far. Oh well, as long as I enjoyed it.
7 out of 10


  1. Glad you enjoyed it! I noticed people are quite bitter recently, first the slaughtering of Prometheus and now some very negative reviews for Brave. I really stopped paying attention to Rotten Tomatoes because of it.

    1. Yeah, I know. People are still talking about Prometheus, it could be the most discussed film since Inception. I feel this could work in it's favour.

  2. I look forward to checking out Brave with my little man this weekend. Nice even handed review.

    1. Adults might like it or not, but I'm pretty confident kids with enjoy it. Thanks for the comment.

  3. I actually have the same rating. Thought it was great but not as excellent as Pixar's usual thing. Merida is different than many associated character of a princess. But, I guess I was disappointed that her braveness isn't much exposed like in the beginning.

  4. I agree with you especially with the braveness part. That why I said I expected more adventure elements. Somewhere in the middle of the film, they changed direction.

  5. I don't always agree w/ the critics and this time I almost felt like those who knock it must have been watching a different movie or they're in a bad mood! Seriously, it may not be *perfect* but certainly is way better than a C, let alone a D grade.

    1. That's what thought too. Its one thing to not enjoy it, but say its terrible is just bewildering.

  6. I think people are taking the "Brave" title to mean there should have been more adventure. I think being brave was more about how she stood up for herself in a time and place that didn't stand for that sort of behaviour. Remembering that this is also a movie for children, I wouldn't have wanted to see any more 'action' via Mor'du. I LOVED that my red headed daughter can identify with a Disney Princess that isn't perfectly done up with straight hair. She now refers to her hair as princess hair because of Merida. I personally loved that Billy Connolly voiced the Dad, I LOVE Billy Connolly!

    My daughter wants to be Merida for Halloween, and we're definately looking forward to it coming out on Blu-Ray! Great movie for us!

    1. That's very cool that your daughter wants to be Merida for Halloween. I love Merida and think she's the best Disney Princess yet. Your daughter must have beautiful hair too if she has similar hair!


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