The heather on the hill and other scenic Scottish glories never looked lovelier than in the animated realm of "Brave," the gorgeous if awkwardly plotted new film from Pixar Animation Studios and the ruling clan of
Several firsts here for Pixar. Its 13th feature is the studio's first period assignment, set in pre-medieval times, a fairy tale grounded in the textures and enticements of a real place. It's also the first princess-themed project from Pixar, and the writers wisely make this headstrong royal an action heroine foremost. In the early scenes, young Merida (voiced by
But Merida doesn't want to marry, or do much of anything her mother, the queen, seems to hold dear. "A bow, Fergus? She's a lady!"
In the prologue of "Brave,"
Many aspects of "Brave" remind us, at a glance, why Pixar rules the American animation game. Production designer
I wish the script were sharper. With the greatest Pixars, such as "Ratatouille" and "Wall-E," the audience has very little idea of where things are headed, and the results aren't simply unpredictable; narratively, tonally, thematically, they're brave. Ironically, "Brave" is less so, even though the violence (particularly bear-on-bear violence) gets pretty rough. The raucous slapstick with the warring clansmen grows wearisome; after the transformation of the queen, there's little pleasure in watching Mum-Bear in a constant, awkward panic.
In its rather conventional human character designs, much of "Brave" looks more like a DreamWorks picture than I'd have expected from Pixar, though in recent years DreamWorks has given us "How to Train Your Dragon" (speaking of Scottish adventures) and "
MPAA rating: PG (for some scary action and rude humor).
Running time: 1:40.
Credits: Directed by
"Brave" Movie Trailer
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