Ah, Pixar. For so many years you could do no wrong.. Then Cars
came out, and we worried that you could be influenced by Disney into having a movie that seemed more about merchandising than anything else. So when the merger happened between Pixar/Disney I had a moment of worry that, although everyone was excited that Pixar would improve Disney, a ‘Disney-fication’ of Pixar might also happen..
So here we have Brave
, the story of a headstrong, young Scottish princess who rebels against her parents desires to marry her to one of the Princes of the highlands to maintain the shaky peace. Magic is invoked, consequences unintended happen, and the story unfolds with beautiful Pixar animated style and a range of Scots accents. By strange coincidence, I watched Aladdin the other day – a perennial favourite for Robin Williams’ wonderful turn as the genie (and some toe tapping tunes). The story of a Princess not wanting to be married off without love is there in both, though turning it round to have the Princess as the center of the story is a nice change, and Merida – the Scottish Princess – is believable as the rebellious, self-sustaining type. There are also other twists, but that would spoil the plot.
The story is not the real hero of this Pixar tale though. The richness of the story seems lacking, with some obvious steps taken and a distinct lack of the layers that keep taking you back to other Pixar movies. This time the magic is in the visuals, from Merida’s stunning auburn locks that almost have a life of their own, to the light changes playing across dramatic Scottish landscapes. The one exception is a common gripe from any 3D movie.. the rotating draw back shots from key locations. Ug. Filmmakers – these do not work out of 3D – the majority of your watchers – and immediately scream ‘movie made for 3D’. Story first, 3D spinning shots second thank you very much. Similarly there are some good characters, but they seem to lack the overall charm (and wit) of other Pixar creations – outside of the main players, who are all enjoyable and engaging and in the case of Merida’s three brothers, welcome comic relief (and cute as three identical buttons).
In summary: A beautiful and enjoyable movie, but not one of Pixar’s best. Och aye.