Brave begins like a typical animated Disney movie: A tragic hero in need of self-discovery, a disagreeable atmosphere and a little bit of magic make this film exactly like every predecessor.
The story takes place in a Scottish kingdom surrounded by bears and harsh wilderness. Merida (Kelly MacDonald), a skilled archer, disagrees with her family tradition of arranged marriage and would instead independently conquer the forest with her bow. When her mother forces her to choose between three inadequate choices competing for her hand, she runs away to the forest and stumbles upon a witch who promises to change her fate by changing her mother (Emma Thompson).
The spell doesn’t go as planned, and Merida spends the rest of her journey attempting to make her life normal again, discovering who she was truly meant to be in the process.
Brave is meant to provide an educational message and entertaining story line for kids—the story centers around a rebellious girl who steals desserts, controls her little brothers, and disagree with her family’s every wish. Her ‘spunky’ personality comes across as bratty, showing little kids that it’s okay to disagree with your parents since eventually you’ll get what you want. The central message of independence is good, but Disney-Pixar fails to portray this on the screen.
This film seemed to be a mix of Beauty and the Beast and Tangled with a little bit of Snow White dappled on top which, in turn, forces failure to create Brave’s own unique identity. That, however, is the least of its problems. The film misses the mark of greatness by nearly every standard. Some parts even come across as irritating and make the audience cringe at times.
However, Pixar’s astonishing 3-D animation sets this average kids flick apart from the rest. Complete with sub-par timing, extreme cheesiness and a message not very kid appropriate, the Pixar animation is the only reason to see the studios 13th installment.
Violence and inappropriate images even prove to be not kid appropriate. Several moments between the king and queen reveal subtle messages many kids may not recognize, but parents will be covering their eyes in embarrassment.
The voice acting is well done and the animation could not get better. Every strand of Merida’s red curly hair moves flawlessly in each shot as expressions pop off the screen, literally if you see the film in 3-D.
Overall, Brave fails at its most basic goal, which makes the film unappealing even to its target audience. If you’re looking for entertainment for kids, this is not the film for you, but if you simply want to marvel at the wonderful animation, go ahead and enjoy.