Review of Brave

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An animated comedy adventure film about a Scottish princess named Merida who defies her parents by persuing an interest in archery and inadvertently jeopardizing her father's kingdom in the process. Featuring the voices of Julie Walters, Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson & Kelly Macdonald.
2

The mouse house's favorite production studio may be crumbling. After last year's "Cars 2", a direct-to-dvd offering if there ever was one that instead got the big 3-D theater treatment, I expected Pixar to bounce back with something better. Instead "Brave" just becomes safe. Kelly MacDonald, of “Boardwalk Empire”, voices Merida, the tomboy princess of a Scottish kingdom forced into marriage with one of three doofuses from the surrounded clans by her domineering mother (Emma Thompson). After a heated throw-down with mom, Merida runs off and encounters the cabin of a witch, who she coaxes into giving her a spell that will hopefully get mom off her back, but instead makes her a literal mama-grizzly.

What could have been a heartfelt mother-daughter movie (this is the first time the main characters of a Pixar flick have been female) disintegrates into a silly premise where Merida's father (Billy Connolly) hunts her mom, mom gets taught how to catch fish with her mouth, and it wraps up with both mother and daughter finding mutual understanding that the movie has put no effort into earning. It seems to be saying both “hey kids, mom can be a pain in the ass sometimes but at least she’s not, you know, a bear” and“ hey moms, when your kid puts a hex on you, that means you’re being too controlling, stop it.” The rest is average. We get quite a few speeches about the kingdom crumbling if people don’t stick together, a soundtrack filled with songs subbing in for where the drama should be, and some sight gags, mostly mundane, about a bear acting like a woman. When the best laughs in a Pixar movie come from belching and bare-assed Scotsmen, something is wrong. At least the animation looks great; mountain-climbing, horse-riding, arrow-shooting, and sweeping shots of the forest all coming to life in 3-D. And the last act offers some nice bear-fighting thrills. But this is a story that falls well below what we've come to expect from Pixar.