Brave is the latest installment from the animation powerhouse, Disney’s Pixar studios. The story revolves around young Scottish tomboy princess, Merida, who, more concerned with bows and swordplay, is forced to face the reality of royal courtship. In her attempts at rebellion against her controlling mother, Merida runs away, making a deal with a woodworking-by-day, casting-spells-by-night witch in order to change her mother’s decision about marriage. Like all textbook fairytales, the deal does not go as planned and Merida’s mother is turned into a bear, resembling the legendary warrior bear, Mor’du, who was responsible for taking the leg of Merida’s father at the beginning of the tale. As Merida and her mother struggle to work together and mend their relationship to break the curse, they learn about the mystery of Mor’du and his role in the story.
Brave does not live up to the hype and quality that is attributed with Pixar films. Although fun and entertaining for children, the theme, moral and plot elements are surface, generic and lack the depth that have been experienced in the previous works of the film studio.
The moral of the tale is communication. Merida’s conflict with her mother is relatable to most children who do not understand their parents and vice versa, but how that theme plays out through the film is less than stellar. Once the curse was placed (which happens over halfway through the film) on Merida’s mother, the answer as to how to fix it comes quickly and their attempts to overcome their obstacles happen immediately i.e. Merida’s mother is cursed, they immediately find the witch’s hut which gives them a clue to break the curse. They immediately figure out the clue and work on mending their bond and they succeed. This is aggregated by the lack of conflict. There is no real definitive bad guy, as the main antagonist, the bear, Mor’du is tacked on to create action sequences robotically, having little to do with the overall theme aside showing the pitfalls of pride. He has no real purpose to the film in pushing the storyline forward as everything he establishes has already been done so earlier in the film.
This should not be a deterrent, however. Brave is an original fairytale created by Pixar, with the feeling of Hans Christian Anderson and that is great, but, like with the fairytales of old, there is a lack of substance outside of the moral. The characters are not fleshed out fully. They seem two dimensional and are placed in situations with little base in reality outside of awkwardly moving the plot forward.
Brave is an entertaining film for kids and adults alike, but just lacks that depth found in most Pixar films. I enjoyed it none the less, because of the amazing visuals and quick wit that was prevalent throughout the entire film. I just felt that it lacked the true heart that we have seen in the history of Pixar.