Thursday, March 7, 2013


Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman.
2012. Rated PG, 93 minutes.
Kelly Macdonald
Julie Walters

Craig Ferguson
Kevin McKidd
John Ratzenberger

Once upon a time, there lived a princess with an unruly mane of shocking red hair. Her name is Merida (Macdonald). One day, when she is still a very little girl, a ravenous bear known as Mor’du attacks their village. While Merida is whisked away to safety by her mother, Queen Elinor (Thompson), her dad, King Fergus (Connolly) stays behind to fight the animal off. He’s successful, but loses a leg in the process. Cut to Merida’s teenage years. Much to the Queen’s chagrin, Merida has no interest in being a dainty little princess. She really doesn’t care to be married, either. However, the queen informs her that’s precisely what’s about to happen. To whom is the only thing yet to be decided. Three young suitors will come to their home and compete to win her hand. None too pleased with this turn of events, Merida takes matters into her own hands.

After that set up, which takes great pains to show how diametrically opposed the princess is to the queen, we get a fun and occasionally harrowing tale of mother/daughter bonding through girl power. There are some fun action scenes involving archery and/or bears. The story between them holds together quite nicely and includes a few gut-wrenching moments. These happen when we realize the queen may be losing to her affliction and what’s in her future is not pretty.

Brave is also a beautiful looking film. Beginning with our heroine’s expertly rendered hair, it’s a wonderful mix of photo-realistic scenery and cartoonish people. Nearly every frame has a touch or two that are a treat to lay eyes on. This is especially true of any scene involving water. If I didn’t know it wasn’t real, I’d hesitate to say it’s not the genuine article.

Where Brave falls short is in the humor department. Many of the attempts to make us laugh simply fall flat. We get a couple nice chuckles but they are few and far between. The big issue seems to be that all the jokes are telegraphed. There is almost no element of surprise to them, save for some unexpectedly bare buttocks. It’s mostly stock humor rehashed from other kiddie flicks.

Despite some unfunny “funny” stuff, Brave is a very pleasant watch. There are some amazing visuals and a few solid action scenes to go with its fairy-tale. Admittedly, things can get a little predictable and occasionally sappy, but not to an unbearable degree. It’s not quite the masterpiece we’re used to getting from Pixar, but still a very nice effort.


  1. I watched it by chance, and even though it was a little predictable I enjoyed it. Nice review!

    1. Yup, that's pretty much how I feel about it.