Review: “Brave” hits the bullseye

June 22nd, 2012 at 7:57 am by under Entertainment

Ready for a trip back in time to a magical land in a movie that takes you on an adventure with a new red-headed heroine?  Then Pixar’s latest movie “Brave” is your movie to target this weekend.

"Brave" poster courtesy Walt Disney - Pixar

(My spoiler-free review)

This is no damsel in distress fairy tale – a strong female lead is a first for Pixar – and while its rare in animated movies, it also doesn’t happen very often in non-animated films… but that’s not the only thing this movie has going for it: its an action/adventure tale with family and courage at its core.

Merida (mare-iduh) is a Scottish princess who is not your normal royal figure – from a very young age she is more into adventure, horseback riding, and her bow than getting lessons on etiquette from her mother.

Merida (vocied by Kelly Macdonald) gets along better with her dad – King Fergus (Billy Connolly) than her mom – Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson)… which gives us the central point of trouble for our hero and the majority of female viewers will appreciate how the mother-daughter dynamic plays out.

While there’s a strong family arc, there is a larger story about the kingdom and the Lords of three other clans and how all four will get along.  We also get two old Disney staples – a little bit of magic and whimsy plus some humanized animals.

There are a few moments of scary/darker images – which is why the movie is rated PG – and may be scary for kids 4 and under… otherwise its a good movie for the whole family.  Some of the deeper storylines may be hard for kids to grasp, but after they see it a few times, they’ll pick it up.

Also, save a couple bucks and skip the 3D, its not only not necessary, it actually takes away from the vibrant visuals from Pixar.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

“Brave” looks great (especially Merida’s red locks) and weaves an epic adventure for kids and introduces a lot of memorable characters and bits of comic relief.   There are a lot of in-jokes for adults about Scottish food, clothing, and language… there’s an independent girl that will appeal to a lot of young girls… a family story that will appeal to many… and the adventure that will keep you engaged in the movie.   Its not just about teen rebellion – its about learning from mistakes and being brave enough to fix them.   There’s also a message about cherishing your family – even if you don’t always get along.  I give it 8.5 out of 10 … and while its more classic Disney fairy tale than leading edge Pixar, its certainly in my Top10 Pixar movies.

"Brave" photo courtesy Walt Disney - Pixar

“Brave”

(2012) (rated: PG for some scary action and rude humor)
(1 hr, 40 min)

Voices of: Kelly Macdonald (Merida), Billy Connolly (King Fergus),
Emma Thompson (Queen Elinor), Julie Walters (The Witch), Robbie Coltrane (Lord Dingwall), Kevin McKidd (Lord MacGuffin / Young MacGuffin), Craig Ferguson (Lord Macintosh)

Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell

Genre: Animation/Action/Adventure

The Plot: Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida  defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.

So what did you think?  Please post a comment!

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“Brave” poster and photo courtesy Walt Disney/Pixar

Laff at the Movies

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