Friday, June 22, 2012

Brave Review

 Pixar is one of the most amazing film studios running. Every movie they make, excluding maybe the Cars films, are instant classics and should be watched by anyone of any age. Even adults love Pixar, and when a company that makes kids movies is loved by adults it has to be doing something right.

Brave is the new film from Pixar and revolves around Princess Merida, voiced by Kelly MacDonald, and her struggle with her over-bearing mother Queen Elinor, voiced by Emma Thompson. Her father King Fergus, Billy Connolly, doesn't care as much what she does, and her triplet brothers are there to provide some excellent comic relief.

Brave's cast of voice actors is stellar with particular attention paid to Connolly and Thompson. MacDonald is also very good and there are great supporting roles supplied by Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, Robbie Coltrane,and Julie Walters. McKidd, Ferguson, and Coltrane all play the heads of other Scots clans and they all are funny and well cast. Walters plays the slightly dotty old witch and does a good job.

About halfway through the movie Merida gets the witch to supply her with a magic cake that will change her mother, thereby changing her fate. Unbeknownst to her the cake will turn her mother into a bear. This sounds rather stupid, but is actually done really really well. The bear is still very human and the bonding scenes between Merida and her mother, as the bear, are actually rather touching.

The only problem I really have with this movie is that as far as the story goes, it seems more like a Disney movie than a Pixar one. I know Pixar is a department of Disney, but Pixar has always kinda done their own thing and it always works excellently. They have a way of telling inventive stories in new exciting ways. The plot of Brave though is very much an over-used Disney one. Of a girl in a position she initially doesn't like, gets it changed often through magical means, and over the course of the film realizes that she likes the position she's in and everything is returned back to normal.

That doesn't make Brave a bad movie. Not at all, it's Pixar for god's sake. It may be an old, over-used story, but that doesn't stop Pixar into making it a damn good movie. All the old things are there and they don't exactly do anything new with them besides maybe the bear part, but its all done so spectacularly and with such deliberate care that you can't help but like it.

I enjoyed this movie immensely. The animation is absolutely gorgeous, the voice acting is stellar,  the music is all folksy and fits the setting, and all the comic relief is actually funny instead of annoying. The animation has to be noted again because it is probably Pixar's most beautiful film, every scene seems to be animated with such love and care and every detail is so finely tuned. Super special props to the short film La Luna that plays before the movie, which was an inventive, magical little film that made me feel like a kid.

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