Saturday, June 23, 2012

In Theaters: 'Brave' (Review)

A new original movie from Pixar in what seems like ages. Had high hopes and immense anticipation. Pixar's first period piece, female protaganist etc just added to my curiosity. Safe to say, I  really wanted to love this movie. Unfortunately Pixar has made it very difficult for me to do so.

Let me start by saying that this movie does not break any new ground, does not even come close to  portraying a female protagonist in a new way. Disney's Mulan is still miles ahead of this.
To me it seems Brave may have been an unfortunate victim of  confused film-making. Shoehorning multiple ideas and suggestions with complete disregard for what the film really needs to be. If true, it is probably saddest news for this 'director driven' studio. Not all movies can endure a behind-the-scenes game of 'Director's musical chair' and pull-off a Ratatouille I guess. Is this what the originator Brenda Chapman really envisioned?... we will probably never know for sure.

The movie just refuses to take itself seriously. Making light and comedy at the most inopportune times, poking fun at sincere moments and don't even get me started on the toilet humor. Looks like Pixar is using Brave to compensate for more than a decade of burp-free, fart-free, snort-free, nudity-free movies.
If one titled Disney's Mulan as 'Brave', I would get that... but renaming The Bear and the Bow to Brave seemed dumb even for the brightest marketing executive. Merida is hardly 'Brave" in the film and no amount of voice-overs at the beginning and ending over dramatic Scottish landscapes will convince me otherwise.

There are some very good moments in the film , like the opening picnic, Merida's archery challenge, her standing up to her mom etc which only shows glimpses of what the film could have been. But for the most part we end up with awkward comedy by a Bear Queen who's plight needed to come-off grave and dramatic to take this plot seriously. This is not Pixar's worst (Cars 2 still has that crown), but in my books it is definitely their most disappointing yet... simply because I had higher expectations.
So see it once, enjoy the beautiful production design, good voice work, interesting score, the lovely short La Luna that plays before it and  a few heart felt sequences showing the film's potential. After Brother Bear and now Brave, it's clear that Disney/Pixar love turning humans into bears to teach them life lessons. Hopefully they will get it right the third time around... and may I suggest a different animal  to help justify the comedy? A kangaroo perhaps?


  1. Good review Kushal. Had a lot of fun with this one for the first half or so, but then after that, things started to go downhill for me and it lost my focus. Usually, I love the heck out of Pixar films but this one didn’t do much for me, except give me plenty of eye-candy to gaze at.

  2. Completely agree with you Dan O. ! :)