The news of another Pixar film meant a lot of excitement on my behalf. I have developed-and I’m sure I’m not alone in this-an almost obsessive love for Pixar and the pure genius that they create.
Perhaps I should have reined in this excitement a little and remembered from experience that films don’t often live up to expectations when those expectations are so high.
Truthfully I enjoyed this film from start to finish and there was nothing wrong with it, in it’s own right. However, the fact is, my ‘Pixar level expectations’ were sadly, not met.
Brave sees Princess Merida of Clan DunBroch facing a life she did not choose or hope for as her parents arrange her betrothal. Desperate to change her fate, Merida defies an age-old custom and inadvertently brings chaos to her Kingdom, and a curse upon her family. Merida must use her archery skills, personal strength and bravery to repair the damage she has done and undo the curse before it is too late.
The film was good, it really was, but it was nowhere near the calibre that Pixar have previously achieved.
One of the best things about Pixar is the subtle and clever humour used. If you’re a fan you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s like watching Toy Story when you’re older and wondering what on earth you laughed at when you were young because the jokes were for the adults.
I didn’t see any examples of this kind of humour in Brave. There were a few funny moments but it wasn’t to the same standard other Pixar films have set.
To the film’s credit, I have to give top points for originality. It was nice to see something so different, as Pixar more often than not focus on humanizing objects and animals, e.g. Toys, Robots, Cars, Bugs, Fish, Rats.
The characters were likeable, particularly the protagonist, Princess Merida. This is the first Pixar film with a female lead and though it doesn’t bother me that it hasn’t happened until now, it was nice to see. Girl power and all that. I am kidding but she is pretty kick-ass.
Brave also boasts an impressive voice cast that included Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters and Robbie Coltrane. Credit to those actors whose voices I didn’t recognize thanks to their convincing Scottish accents. None of that Mel Gibson nonsense.
The animation too was outstanding (obviously) and was made even more beautiful through the settings in the film, particularly the forest. Apparently Pixar completely rewrote their animation system for the first time in 25 years for this one and it seems to have paid off.
One of my favourite parts of the movie was the music. I usually enjoy the music in Pixar films but not as much as I did for this film; it really enhanced the story and was, put simply, beautiful.
Sadly for Brave, Pixar have set an incredibly high bar. It isn’t the worst Pixar film as Cars 2 has that well and truly in the bag, but there just seemed to be something missing. It’s a shame because the story was unique, beautiful and touching. The emotion was definitely there as it is in all Pixar films, but somehow it wasn’t enough.
I hope no-one accuses Pixar of losing their touch. On the contrary I just hope they make so many films in years to come that there have to be some not-so-good ones. They can’t all be perfect after all.
If it had just been another film that didn’t have the shadow of incredible predecessors to overcome, I would struggle to say a bad word about it. I have no doubt that if you watch Brave you will enjoy it; just make sure to keep those expectations in check if you hold Pixar on as high a pedestal as I do.