Saturday, June 23, 2012

Brave: A Movie Review & Discussion

There WILL be spoilers. Do NOT read any further if you don't want to spoil anything for yourself.

When I saw Pixar's newest movie, Brave, I knew I had to write about it.

These are all the thoughts that I can recall on seeing the movie only once. I try my best not to forget anything, but I inevitably will.

(photographed: Brave poster)

Brave is very much about the ups and downs of a mother-daughter relationship and about the ability to control ones fate. I'm sure all mothers and daughters in the theatre were fighting back tears. I certainly was. And for that reason, I think the movie succeeded.

However, with that being said, I was expecting much more attention to detail, especially since we are dealing with Pixar.

I was disappointed when the storyline with the witch wasn't revisited. She was clearly involved in the past spell that went wrong yet we learn nothing more of her other than the fact that she posed as a wood carver who apparently creates many bear-related objects. The "hint" she gave Merida about transforming her mother back to a human was rather predictable as well.

In addition to that disappointment, I experienced a bit of confusion in certain parts. I was under the impression that the legend in which the king turned into the bear was meant to take place long ago, yet he still existed as a bear in the forest, despite being trapped under all the wreckage. I believed that the ones who turned into bears just turned into regular bears, not immortal ones.

I adored Merida. Her accent was strong, but not obnoxious. Her hair took up half the screen. Most memorable of all, was her independent personality. I love stories involving strong-willed women, and Merida was definitely one. Her maturity by the end of the movie was apparent when she was willing to finally choose a suitor.

I also enjoyed Merida's mother and father. Her mother was clearly an important component to the plot of the story. The scene when she is trying to sneak upstairs to the repair the tapestry as Merida is distracting the crowd was a touching one. Merida's ability to translate her mother's hand gestures to complete thoughts showcased a clear progression in their relationship.

Some of my favorite characters were those of the men from the different regions. The portion of the movie when they arrive and attempt to win Merida's hand in marriage was one of my favorite parts.

Other than that, however, I felt Brave was lacking some amazing supporting characters. Some characters that I felt could have use more of a role in the movie were Merida's little brothers. They reminded me of the minions in Despicable Me, serving as comedic relief though not as essential cogs in the wheel that is the plot of the story.

The scenic setting in Scotland was breathtaking. I loved all the shots of the fog in the mountains.

I also found myself obsessed with all the vibrant, curly strands of Merida's hair and how they bounced as she ran. The attention to detail was nothing short then what I expect of Pixar, and I'm impressed at how far they have come since Toy Story.

I loved all the music, from the bagpipes in the background to the lyrical ones. Julie Fowlis' "Touch the Sky" is a definite favorite. For those who don't remember it, it was the song that was playing in the beginning on Merida's first adventure through the forest. A possible new running song? I think so.

Final Verdict: Of all the Pixar movies I have seen, ranked from least to most favorite, Brave probably falls somewhere in the middle. Without a doubt, I enjoyed the movie and really felt the little strings attached to my heart tug. I never felt the movie dragged on like I did with others, such as Cars. However, there were several scenes throughout the film in which I felt the creators missed opportunities to add more detail, a quality that I love most about Pixar films. If you are considering taking kids or younger siblings to this movie, don't hesitate. All the kids in the theatre were thoroughly enjoying themselves. Would I watch this movie again? Yes. But I won't be the first racing to stores to buy it when it hits shelves.

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