Thursday, November 29, 2012

Brave

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!
 
Brave - 4 out of 5

According to the young prophet the Fresh Prince, parents just don’t understand. However, we all know the reality when we grow up: We’re all dumb as an inbred fox when we were teenagers. Sure at the time we thought we knew it all because…because…I don’t know, for some reason we just thought we knew it all but, in reality, we didn’t know shit. Growing up, however, doesn’t automatically fill one with enlightenment because we’re all still pretty dumb as we grow. There’s a balance that needs to be discovered when dealing with children and understand that as an adult you have their best interests in mind but they also must be allowed to form their own personality and seek their own fortunes and destiny. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about because I’m NOT a father and have no children so my expertise is implied by the fact that I am literally telling you that I’m an expert and have no history or grounds to back up that statement. This delicate balance and dealing with a hormonal teenager is the basis for the latest Pixar film; Brave.

"Well...that's emasculating..."

Her messy hair means she's a rebellious spirit!
Brave is about a fictional Scottish kingdom where it is now time for the princess Merida (voice by Kelly Mcdonald) to be married off to a suitor from neighboring clans. Merida, being the fact she is an independent woman and a princess, doesn’t want to go with tradition and have a collection of dudes engage in games in order to win her hand. She wants to forge her own destiny and wants a man to love her for her and not her crown...and besides, having men jump through hoops in order to win a date would be cornered generations later thanks to modern day courting rituals and reality shows. Merida rebels and leaves the castle only to stumble upon a witch (voiced by Julie Walters) who gives her the means to get her mother; Elinor (Emma Thompson), to understand her perspective. And when I say means to get her mother to understand her viewpoint, I mean she’s given a potion that turns her mother into a bear. Now Merida and Elinor must figure out how to break the spell and heal their traumatized relationship before the second sunrise or Elinor will remain a bear for the rest of her days. That would be a very bad thing despite the fact bears are pretty badass. You see, Merida’s father; Fergus (Billy Connolly) lost his leg to a mythical beast of a bear and I’m sure that would put some sort of dampener on their marriage.

"In retrospect, Mom, I guess an arranged marriage isn't as bad as turning you into a bear."


I love Pixar’s films. They were truly the first company to make heartfelt animated films that could prove to be not only amazing from a technical standpoint and be something the entire family could enjoy but they also proved that animated movies could have true emotion and original stories that went beyond talking and smirking animals. I’m not afraid to say that most of their movies make me cry like a child who’s parents just got divorced and, as the father was walking out the door, decided to pop the brand new balloon he got…also the mother told him he was adopted. Pixar did what few animated companies did and made characters who felt real and weren’t just splashes of bright color to occupy children for an hour and a half.

This movie loves bears.  If beets and Battlestar Galactica were involved in the story
I would think Dwight Schrute wrote this.


I didn’t get to see Brave in the theaters (the weekend it came out, I was busy running in a zombie 5K race and, in my opinion, I made the better choice) but after watching it on DVD, I’m not too upset I missed it. Brave isn’t a terrible film, far from it, but it’s not the embodiment of Pixar’s best work. The film tells a great story about a daughter and a mother trying to resolve their issues and we get to hear Billy Connolly’s voice (Anyone who says they hate Billy Connolly is secretly an alien out to destroy the world) but the film doesn’t achieve the same status as Toy Story 3 or Finding Nemo.

It also has a shocking amount of male nudity.


Merida’s blight (being forced to marry) feels too Princess Jasmine and this element of the story is never feathered out enough where Merida can become one of those great characters that Pixar is always filling our hearts with. The film opens with some backstory and a minor montage that showcases some of Merida’s free-spirit behavior but it’s quickly overshadowed by Fergus’ backstory of losing his leg to his great white whale—a great black bear. In the end, Merida feels more like the vacuous, simple Princesses that Disney is known for rather than the layered and deep characters Pixar is notorious for pumping out into the theaters and DVDs (and Blu-Rays, I’m not going to discriminate against formats here.)

A REALLY great black bear!


I sound harsh but, in the end, Brave is a really good movie and, yes, I cried at the end. Despite Merida’s capacity to be a great Pixar character never truly being realized, the film does a great job at developing the haphazard relationship between Elinor and Merida…and you know their relationship is strained when seeing a witch to put a spell on your mommy just to get her to listen to you seems like a GOOD idea. In fact, there’s actually a lot of great aspects to the film.

Looks like she's about to drop an F-bomb.


Since it’s Pixar, I don’t need to point out that the animation is awesome…you know this without actually having to even see the film and if you don’t know that, then chances are you have never actually seen a Pixar film and probably are a time traveler from another time, mostly likely the past, and you are now filling me with a lot of confusion because you are from the past but somehow created a device to travel through time with. And since we’re on this subject, can I borrow your time machine so I can travel to the future, get a sports almanac and Biff Tannen my life?

I guess that's what I would look like as a Pixar cartoon...and shaved.

I kinda went on a tangent there and I’m sorry. Back to Brave

That's better...we're back on track.


Like I said, there is a lot going on in this movie. The story is the emotional one you would expect from Pixar (albeit it’s not as long as it should have been to tell the story to its extent it needed) but the true highlight resides in the voice acting. Not only do you get to hear Billy Connolly but Craig Ferguson, Kevin McKidd and Robbie Coltrane provide the voices for the fathers of the three clans pimping out their sons for Merida’s throne—I mean, heart. These four men were so good that I actually wanted the film to trade its focus on seeing mommy and daughter resolve their issues and see this group bumble and fumble their way to kill a bear, play some golf, eat haggis while playing bagpipes or whatever other Scottish stereotype I can come up with.

Does having amazing facial hair count as a Scottish stereotype?


Also, the movie does a great job with some breast jiggle physics.

Did you think I was kidding about the boobs?


Brave isn’t a Wall-e or Monsters, Inc. but it’s a great inclusion to their films…and thankfully it waited till the end to make me cry like a bitch and not at the very beginning like Up. While it isn’t the best outing Pixar has shown and not as funny as their previous works, it’s still a great animated family film that tells a great story, has great voice acting and has some top notch music that really transports you to the moors of Scotland. And it’s better than Cars and its sequel. I’m sorry Pixar but talking cars? Did Dreamworks step in and sell you that idea? How do you go from movies about toys dealing with becoming obsolete, monsters existing in their own realm harvesting the screams of children, ants standing up to cricket aggressors to talking automobiles? Alright, before I get on a tangent about how Cars sucks, I’m going to get into this time machine and check out the Enchantment Under the Sea dance. Later, nerds!

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