Critic Consensus: Brave offers young audiences and fairy tale fans a rousing, funny fantasy adventure with a distaff twist and surprising depth.
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Critic Reviews for Brave
The main problem is that Merida craves adventure but Brave limits her to mother-daughter psychodrama.
By the climax, at which all right-thinking viewers will have dissolved in a puddle of warm appreciation, the new Pixar film has earned two cheers and a big bear hug.
The story for this revisionist fairy tale, which promotes contemporary attitudes about parenting and gender equality, is less inspired than usual for Pixar, but the movie upholds the studio's high standard of computer animation.
Cockamamie folklore from a land too distant for Hollywood digimators to strain themselves over authenticity.
Audience Reviews for Brave
I wasn't into this at all. The miscommunication between mothers and daughters about marriage, duty, and honor are so played out. There's nothing new in this trite script, borrowed from so many Amy Tan novels. The bear plot is unsatisfying as well, but mostly because I abhorred the animation. The mother bear looks too cartoonish and not at all a manifestation of the actual queen character. Disney/Pixar's foray into the neo-princess movie without a love interest is lifeless and contrived.
The animation is absolutely stunning and beautiful to look at, starting with a gorgeous leading character to the wonderful Scottish landscapes. In the story department things get a little weird after a bit and even though the film never tries to be anything else but a fairy tale, the developments feel a little odd. That doesn't take anything from the film's entertainment value and outstanding artistry involved, of course.
Obviously this is a mish mash of several different film concepts rolled up into one, but the end result was pretty great. "Brave" focuses on Princess Merida, who lives in the Scottish Highlands with her parents and three younger brothers. The first premise of the film is that Merida has to marry a suitor from one of the rival clans of the Highlands. The other premise surrounds her mother being transformed into a bear. It seems that these two concepts have trouble merging seamlessly, because we're aware as an audience that there's a shift. Her mother as a bear yields some pretty hilarious effects, and lends to the overall narrative of listening to one another and learning from your mistakes. I think the reason it still felt strange was that Merida's exploits didn't feel all her own. In fact, the story was centered more around the mother than her daughter: her mother is the one who has a spell cast upon her, her mother saves her daughter from being attacked, and her mother must get back to her original form. Merida causes more problems than she solves, and though she battles against the villain as well, she isn't the main focus at all times. That and the villain is kind of shoehorned in in the last section of the film. The film does employ magic in a way that moves the narrative forward and lends to some interesting visuals. It was also great having a female heroine who doesn't deal with marriage or romance in her plot, and is headstrong, which we could use in more films for children.
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