Movie Review: BRAVE

Published July 13, 2012 by mrsrag

Starring the voices of: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson.

PG.  Animated.  Running Time: 1 hour 40 minutes.

 

Sorry, we were on vacation in the great, hot North for a couple of weeks.  Back to chilly Florida for a few, then off again.  In the meantime, back to “work.”  While we were gone we took Ethan to Disney Pixar’s Brave, the story of a young, gloriously redheaded Scottish Princess who desperately wants to live her life on her own terms, not the strictly arranged path her parents have laid out for her.  Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire and the final Harry Potter installment) does a nice job with the voice of our heroine, Princess Merida, and her relationship with her mother Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) is the backbone of the movie.  When Merida ventures into the forest to ask an old witch for a spell to help her gain control of her own destiny, the fit hits the shan, and the movie takes a drastic turn.  I usually love these movies.  How To Train Your Dragon, by the same group, is one of my all time favorite animated films.  And I by no means hated Brave, but it just fell short for me.  I can’t put my finger on it.  Hoping Maria will inspire me to find the right words after I read her first thoughts.

Brave is definitely worth the price of admission, but as Ross put it – it just fell short.  I still enjoyed watching it, mostly because I could listen to those Scottish accents all day.  Perhaps, I was unimpressed because it was just a variation on a theme that we have seen an endless number of times.  It definitely added a different twist to the formula, but for the most part resembled a story I have seen reused ad nauseum.  There were aspects of the film that made up for the formulaic plot, such as the breathtaking animation and visuals.  I also found it very easy to relate to Merida’s character.  The relationship between mother and daughter struck a chord with me as well.  I would be leary of bringing very small children to view the film, as some of the violent action scenes were frightening even to the eight year olds accompanying us.

Oh absolutely.  It wasn’t as bad as say The Hunger Games, where we were surrounded by 8-12 year olds.  (Truly, I don’t know what some people are thinking, that movie was WAY too much for young kids.)  But Brave did have several fairly scary moments during some of the bear scenes.  At any rate, I think I’ve gotten to the reasoning behind my feelings for this movie.  I’m fairly certain I’m evolved enough to thouroughly enjoy a movie with strong, dominant female leads, which Brave certainly has.  I loved Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, for example.  So that isn’t it.  I’m pretty sure what is lacking in this film for me, is a villian.  There is no one to hate.  Nothing to root against.  Merida’s parents mean well.  The witch just gives you exactly what you want, maybe not how you want it, but she is not malevolent at all.   There is a scary bear, but he isn’t what he seems, and he’s nowhere near the center of the story.  You’d be hard pressed to think of an all-time great movie without a superior villian.  We need somone to hate, and ultimately to vanquish.  Brave is decent cinema.  I would tepidly recommend you take your kid to see it, or go see it on your own if you love everything animated like I do.  I’m guessing you’ll land somewhere close to me when you leave; wishing you went to see Madagascar 3 one more time instead.

Wow…Ross just blew my mind.  He’s absolutely right.  I didn’t hate anyone in the movie.  I was rooting for something though.  I wanted Merida and her mother to finally understand each other.  I wanted them to communicate and figure out a compromise that met both of their needs.  The villain was an intangible emotion.  It was stubborness.  And not just on account of her parents, but her own rigid demeanor.  It took a heinous spell to teach them both a valuable lesson.  The key to making any relationship work is communication.  I think its so important to incorporate these life lessons into children’s entertainment and in that respect Brave was successful.

You’re right honey, the “villian” was an intangible emotion.  Not exactly going to make us forget about Hannibal Lecter or The Wicked Witch of the West.  I like my villians tangible.

Maria’s Rating: 3 out of 5 Gummy Bears.

Ross’ Rating: 2.5 Gummies.

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