My love for Pixar movies has built very gradually – I was a relatively late bloomer, since the early ones didn’t impress my socks off. But “The Incredibles” was a revelation, and ever since the new Pixar movie in June has become a must-see. (I made an exception for “Cars 2” – I’m not paying any kind of money for that.) So when “Brave” came out this weekend, I made a beeline for Cineplex. All in all, I’m not disappointed, but I’d definitely consider this one of the “lesser” Pixars. I’m still waiting for Brad Bird to come back.
One of the things I love about Pixar movies is that the voice actors are chosen for their skill rather than their marquee power, and “Brave” is no different. Anglophiles will recognize most of the main voices – Kelly MacDonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Julie Walters, and Robbie Coltrane star, four of whom, incidentally, are Harry Potter alums. And I think they’re fantastic, especially Kelly MacDonald, who holds a special place in my heart after the awesomeness of “Gosford Park”. Kelly MacDonald and Emma Thompson are very good as daughter and mother with a fractious relationship.
I loved Patrick Doyle ever since his score for “Sense and Sensibility”, and I thought he did a fabulous job for the Scots-flavoured music. And also to love are the visuals, which depict a dreamy, mythological medieval Scotland that just about makes my heart melt.
The Not So Good
Well, it’s a little simplistic, not to put too fine a point on it. The complexity of the characterization and plot is more on a level with “Cars” and “A Bug’s Life” (and the second half of “Wall-E”) than with, say, “Toy Story”, “The Incredibles”, and “Ratatouille”. Rebellious girl who convinces her mother against arranged marriage? Bor-ing. Once, just once, I’d like to see a kid’s or teen movie about a girl who changes her life within the hand that fate has dealt her.
There’s still a lot to like – Merida’s young brothers are a hoot, and the mother-daughter relationship was true to life and touching. It’s just not very…deep. But it looks and sounds great.