Thursday 30 August 2012

Pixar's Brave

Calling all parents! Pixar's latest has topped the UK box office for two weekends in a row now and I'm sure there'll be many parents out there at a loss of what to do for the last few days of the summer. If you have not taken your children to see Brave yet then you have to do it now before school starts! Otherwise, what else will they have to talk about in the playground???

Ok, first I need to establish something straight off. There were many rumoured problems within Pixar during the production of this film, including name changes and staff changes but after the abysmal Cars 2, Brave is a return to form for the company that appeals to both girls and boys. While it may not boast the depth of some other Pixar classics, Brave is still an extremely enjoyable film that uses beautiful animation techniques to render the unusual Scottish setting.


I particularly love the character of Merida, voiced by Kelly Macdonald from Boardwalk Empire and Gosford Park. She plays a strong female lead that could kick the arse of any Disney princess but isn't trying too hard to be like a boy. Sure, she's reminiscent of Katniss Everdeen, with the archery and everything but Brave has been in production for years and the comparison doesn't hurt in terms of marketing.

My one problem with Brave, is that the film lacks a strong villain. There are a couple of brief enjoyable scenes with a witch voiced by Julie Walters and there is a large evil bear who crops up at inopportune moments but they weren't in it enough to create much of a threat.

Brave veers away from the typical physical conflict of most animated films and moves more towards the difficult relationship that Merida shares with her mother, Queen Elinor, who is voiced brilliantly by Emma Thompson. This focus on their dynamic is a brave approach (ahem) to take for such a mainstream film and is reminscent of the ouput from Studio Ghibli and for that I applaud it. The only issue with this is that while Brave has an extremely strong first half, the second half needed more of an oomph in terms of the action to keep the audience involved.

While Brave is perhaps slightly more childish than some other Pixar films, it still has a lot of appeal for adults, including a hilarious transformation that I can't discuss in too much detail here without spoiling it for you. I would absolutely recommend Brave to anyone, as even Pixar not at its best is still a thousand times better than the crappy Madagascars of this world. My only concern is that I feel like Pixar needs an even bigger hit now, like Finding Nemo or Toy Story big, to keep them afloat after the terrible Cars 2. Brave is definitely a step in the right direction and I just hope that Pixar continue to focus on developing exciting and original material, otherwise they will fall into the trap that traditional 2D Disney animation has in the past.
My rating: 4 out of 5 screaming maids

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