With ‘Cars 2’, the once-untouchable Pixar animation studios showed the world that they could make a bad film after all. Now, with ‘Brave’ they’ve decided to venture into Disney territory with a fairy tale about a princess.
This being Pixar though, they come up with a story of their own rather than adapting an older one. Merida is not your typical movie princess, she dislikes her royal duties and position and has no wish for prince charming to come and sweep her off her feet. She’d much prefer to be outside riding or shooting arrows.
Her rebellious attitude inevitably leads to clashes with her more traditional mother, and their disagreements, and the disastrous results thereof, form the majority of ‘Brave’s themes and story.
So does ‘Brave’ find Pixar back to their best? Sadly, no. The whole film is rather slight on story and comedy, though there are some laughs to be had from the clansmen. Of course the lush landscape animation is superb, but that goes without saying nowadays.
It’s highly commendable for Pixar to have gone for two female leads, and Merida, despite her mistakes, is a strong heroine and role model, who’s not about to give up everything for some handsome man (indeed her suitors are all unappealing to her). Plus dedicating the time to a mother/daughter relationship is a surprisingly rare endeavour. ‘Brave’ undeniably boasts an admirable message but the preceding adventure is simply not of the standard expected from Pixar, and the drama is not as moving as that of its most obvious parallel – the father/son relationship from ‘Finding Nemo’.