Fantasy, 93 Minutes, 2012:
Pixar makes good movies. Period. At some point, I’m sure, some relatively minor decision will snowball out of control and they’ll release a steaming pile of crap. Something that will taint their good name and become the butt of jokes for an entire generation of movie fans. The Internet will rip it to shreds with perverse glee. It will be mentioned in the same breath as “Howard the Duck” [IMDB] and “Leonard Part 6” [IMDB].
While that day may come, it is (at the risk of sounding epic), NOT THIS DAY!
While Pixar always makes good movies they do exist on a scale. They’re all fun and they all have meaningful emotional impact but some are just simply better than others. They work their deep and stick with you. “Brave” may not be at quite the level of “The Incredibles” [IMDB] or “Up” [IMDB] but it’s damn close. The movie is fun (and funny) but packs every bit of the emotional punch that we’ve come to expect from Pixar.
Merida is a young princess who would rather hone her impressive adventuring skills than face her womanly duties and the marriage her mother has arranged for her. She makes an ill-advised deal with a forest witch which results in her mother being turned into a bear. They must work together to reverse the spell (and learn more about each other in the process).
There’s an incredible humanity to Pixar’s work. This is very much a woman’s story but it never patronizes. Unlike their corporate partner Pixar has never set a goal (for example, having a black or Hispanic heroine) and constructed a movie to meet it. Merida is a powerfully strong character. One that happens to be a woman. Her mother is also a very strong woman but of a completely different timbre and personality. The few featured male roles are rather one-dimensional; nothing more than (very effective) comic relief really.
Pixar has continued their unbroken streak of fantastic films. More than that they’ve produced something that rivals their best proving that, against the odds, they continue to operate at the top of their game. I’ve no doubt that someday circumstances will conspire against them but for now there doesn’t seem to be a surer bet.