Movie Review – Brave

Plot: Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Witch (Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late!

Voiced with great enthusiasm by Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald, young Merida is a feisty lass with flaming red hair, taking after her father, brave King Fergus (comedian Billy Connolly), who is still nursing a grudge against the bear that ate his leg. A defiantly independent young lady, Merida prefers archery and horseback riding to the dainty yet dull pursuits taught by her ladylike queen mother, Elinor (Emma Thompson), resulting in many a royal scolding.

Merida finally flips when she hears that Queen Elinor, her mother, has arranged for the clans to come and meet and present their sons for her hand in marriage. As far as Merida is concerned, she doesn’t need a man to live happily ever after – a novel concept in the relatively narrow world of cartoon logic, and one that allows the movie to do without a lowly stable boy or other replacement love interest. And so Merida upstages her suitors before running away into the woods alone. She then meets a witch whom she convinces to give her a spell to change her fate – by changing her mother the queen. Well, the spell does that, all right. It changes the queen – into a bear!

What we thought: Disney Pixar’s Brave in 3D is the first non-sequel since 2009, and a marked improvement over Cars 2, or A Bug’s Life. Though it features some of the most exquisite animation ever put to film, it falls short of the benchmark set by the likes of Ratatouille, WALL-E, and Up released at the end of the last decade. Brave in 3D had some cool effects, an entertaining story line and it made a change having a female heroine in the movie. Unfortunately though, the second act was a bit of a let down as it needed to be about Merida and her mother on some sort of quest, but it ended up looking like a disjointed sequences, that didn’t quite add up to the grand finale.

One wonders whether Pixar has moved into a new era where they will make only decent (shock horror!), but not great movies, not unlike the Disney animation output of the 1960s-‘80s. But not to worry, that Brave will be a success, is a foregone conclusion. Kids in KL already know who Merida is and can’t wait to see Brave. However, there was a time not so long ago when people of all ages were amped for Pixar movies. Grownups will appreciate the artistry that went into making Brave – the dialog, the Scottish accents and slang all make it a little less child oriented as a movie, but hey, Brave will definitely make you shed a tear at the end. This plays out more like a Mother’s Day movie, for you to go bond with your Ma! A good movie, yes.. great no.


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