‘Brave’ May Be Based on Folkore, But It’s Not Quite Legendary
Pixar, the same studio that brought you Finding Nemo, Up!, Toy Story, and Wall-e, brings you their newest full-length C.G.I. animated film, Brave. In addition to the obvious advantage of being a product of Pixar, this film shows promise with a wealth of Scottish folklore to pull from.
Brave stars a strong female lead, Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), whose weapon of choice is a bow and arrow. I highly doubt this choice is a coincidence as it is, in fact, chasing the coat-tails of Hunger Games’ popular archer Katniss Everdeen. Merida’s parents are planning to marry her off to solidify loyalty and strengthen ties to surrounding clans. As in many previous Disney films, this girl with the shock of wild red hair is the independent, headstrong teenager type we’ve come to know and love. The story revolves around Merida and her parents playing tug of war trying to get each other to see things from their point of view.
As expected Brave is a gorgeous piece of cinema with beautifully rendered landscapes, distinctly stylized characters, and attention to fine detail. I hear they even implemented a new algorithm for simulating hair and it really shows! Along with Merida’s hair, which appears to have a life of its own, that Clydesdale she rides (Angus) is ridiculously life-like and emotes without being cartoony even with human mannerisms, which is hard to do. So, my hat’s off to the film’s animation team for that.
In addition to having killer hair, Brave has some awesome actors lending their voices to bring this film to life. Voices belonging to actors such as Emma Thompson (Harry Potter, Stranger than Fiction), Billy Connolly (the zombie in FIDO), Julie Waters (Mrs. Weasley from Harry Potter), and even Steve Purcell (creator of Sam and Max) lends his voice to a crow.
Brave was a good movie, however, Pixar has a record of pushing the envelope and the standard “princess not wanting to be forced to marry” storyline seemed like a step backwards for them. Not only that, but tired plot devices were used and they seemed to set up the movie to unravel a bit more intricately than it actually did. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Brave, but it didn’t make me cry like the first 15 minutes of UP!, warm the cockles of my heart with the prospect of robot love in Wall-e, or make me laugh out loud like Toy Story or Finding Nemo did.