‘Brave’ engaging and assured, even if it falls short of Pixar’s greats
Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and co-directed by Steve Purcell
Written by Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, and Irene Mecchi
At some point, the films from Pixar Animation Studios became so consistently powerful, so exceptional, that almost everyone in the world decided that making pieces of pure entertainment wasn’t enough. Because it felt like Pixar was raising and clearing the bar for itself on each of its films, the pioneering animation company only creating movies that are enjoyable and exciting without being uniquely excellent could be disappointing to some of the audience that grew up with their work. But Brave, Pixar’s 13th animated feature in 17 years, is consistently fun and engaging; that it’s not a 90-minute shot of cinematic perfection to the brain doesn’t turn the film into a black mark on the company’s record.
The major theme in Brave is the unique and strong bond parents have with their children, how quickly it can break, and how desperately important it is to mend that bond for everyone’s good. Though there are many parents and children among the cast, we focus on Merida and Elinor, princess and queen of the Scottish Castle DunBroch, respectively. Elinor wants Merida to be a proper lady and get married to one of the neighboring clans’ sons. Merida wants the freedom to do whatever she wants, including perfecting her archery skills and potentially never getting betrothed. As Elinor pushes her further, Merida, at her most desperate point, makes a fateful decision that…well, the less said about it, the better.