Review: Brave

This past Sunday morning, I took my family to see Brave, the latest Pixar movie.  At that point, the movie was on the last day of its second weekend in release.  At the 11:35 am showing, the theater was likely over 80 percent full which speaks to word of mouth advertising as well as the reputation Pixar had for making quality movies.

Brave is the story of a beautiful, smart, headstrong, red-haired princess who has no desire to marry, but is being pressured into it by her mother.  Her father, the king, isn’t quite as convinced, but is yielding to the queen as the point is to strengthen ties to the other clans.

The princess makes an escape from the celebrations and finds a witch who she asks to “change het mother” so she won’t have to marry.  The change works, of course, but not in the way the princess was expecting…again, of course.

The big conflict, leading to the climax, has to do with what the mother has become and what the king has been seeking to get revenge on for years.

Naturally, the princess and the queen learn things about each other and overcome their differences…leading to a happy ending.

I liked the movie very much.  I only had a couple, um, well…issues, no…problems, no…unfulfilled expectations, yes…a couple expectations that weren’t met.

My first expectation involved the witch.  Playing the small, but important role as the person who allows the princess to move the plot and conflict forward, I expected to see her show back up later, before the princess and queen reconcile, to explain that she (the princess) asked for what she got…that she was selfish and got what she deserved.  Maybe Pixar chose not to do this to allow their protagonist to learn her lesson on her own, to let her grow and change and have the audience see it without explicitly stating it.  I completely understand that line of thinking, but (based on the large percentage of this movie’s audience that will be children) I think the witch stating what might be obvious to (some/most) adults would have provided a better means for young children to understand the lesson.

My other unfulfilled expectation was the lack of romance.  When the princess refused to marry any of the sons of the other clans, I expected her to run into a “commoner” or stranger and fall in love.  Of course, that would have required more time to find a way to introduce the two, have them fall in love, and then figure out how resolve it…marriage, death, ‘just can’t happen’ or something else.  Maybe Pixar just didn’t want her “rebellion” to based on romance…they just wanted to have a strong protagonist who wasn’t interested in marrying because she still wanted to be free, not tied down in a marriage..especially when she wasn’t in love.

Bottom line:  Brave is another great movie by Pixar.  The animation, the writing, the humor, the soundtrack…it’s the whole package.  We’ll be picking it up when it hits DVD.

***AN ASIDE:  You may have noticed above that I didn’t call Pixar’s offerings family movies.  They are almost all good enough to entertain people of all ages and they do it cleanly…no need to throw in profanity to “keep it real” or infer sex or drugs or any of that crap Hollywood keeps jamming down our throats to desensitize us to it, to convince us it is all perfectly acceptable.

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