With standards as high as Pixar, is Brave just not great by the animated studio’s inordinate heights or is it just not all that great? Alongside Dreamworks’s comparable effort How To Train Your Dragon and the similar fairytale-like qualities of Shrek, Brave is an enjoyable effort but just doesn’t stand up in comparison.
It plays out very simply as Pixar having a go at writing its own fairytale. Merida is a young girl, an archer, living in the 10th century Scottish Highlands who doesn’t what to follow her parents wishes that she must follow custom and marry a Lord. She runs off and encounters a witch in the woods who grants her a wish, which isn’t quite as idyllic as she hoped…
It’s good fun. It’s certainly funny with plenty of visual gags and it’s well setup. It’s just remarkably unmemorable and the story lacks magic to payoff the emotion which the film’s well-developed opening deserves. There’s a vague attempt to try and give the film some catharsis but writing in something about how ‘we shape our own destiny’ just feels completely redundant and cheesy, which aren’t words you can use too often with Pixar. The ending is rushed and underwhelming which really lets down a good opening and solid middle. But for a family film it is absolutely fine and there’s plenty to enjoy despite the too-dark 3D. Brave is just played a little too safe for my liking.
Review by David Rank
Brave is out on 13th August in the UK. Certificate PG (UK). Running time 100 mins.
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