I have watched all the Pixar movies except Cars 2, because I don't want to ruin my perfect idea of Pixar. Okay I did fall asleep while watching Cars, but still. The other ten films have been amazing. Yes, some more than others, but all are brilliant and heartfelt in their own ways. So ever since the first news about their new film, Brave, was released, I have been going nuts with excitement. I finally saw it yesterday, first day first show, and have been pleasantly rewarded.
Now this synopsis is based on all the trailers so far. In the movie, the relationship between Merida and Elinor plays a huge role, but I don't want to ruin anything. Pixar has its own brand of the unexpected and new. While the whole tomboy rebellious princess thing isn't very novel, the way the movie handles it was. I truly feel that in terms of heart, Pixar movies are second to none, and Brave taps into this wonderfully complex and dynamic and beautiful bond between a mother and daughter and circles everything around it. Like when everyone kept comparing this to a Dreamworks animated feature, the film nerd in me wanted to clarify that the core difference between it and a Pixar feature is that the former is about great, magical adventures and the latter is about finding the extraordinary in the ordinary, and Brave will be no different. I was wrong. Brave is an adventure story- yes; it is about something relatively common like the relationship between a mother and her child- yes, but then that isn't something ordinary. It is among the most incredible things in the world! The fact that it takes something as extraordinary as that, and then makes the film about it, and not just rebelling and fighting and kilts and magic- that is why it wins for me. True it isn't as original as Ratatouille or Finding Nemo, or as impactful as Toy Story 3, but heart is heart, and Brave has loads of it. And I loved it for it.
I loved everyone else too. Emma Thompson voiced Queen Elinor, and she was at the other end of the spectrum of strong women. I mean yes she isn't adept with bows and arrows, but she is one respected and fierce lady. Billy Connoly was King Fergus and he was very funny, especially when he mimics Merida. Kevin McKidd, Robbie Coltrane and Craig Ferguson (!) voiced the various clan leaders, who were hilarious. Julie Walters voiced the Witch. My absolute favourites were Merida's three younger brothers Harris, Hubert and Hamish, who were just adorable.
The story was by Brenda Chapman, who was also the co-director, along with Mark Andrews. She's the first woman director in Pixar's history so far, and she did an splendid job. The film looked absolutely gorgeous. The Scottish backdrop was rich with colour and details, everything brought more to life by Merida's hair (I'm sorry- I can't stop gushing about it!). The music was superb- very Celtic and appropriate. It just added so much to the feel of a film like this. The film was also really humorous, thanks to the mostly brilliant gags of the genius triplets.
If I had to talk about any flaws, it would be the decision of showing the totally stunning La Luna before the movie, because that just drips with pure Pixar magic! I mean I was in tears before Brave even started. Brave is definitely less brilliant, but with a fiery-haired and fiery-hearted heroine for the ages and an excellent emotional story, it is definitely a return to form for Pixar and a really lovely experience.
Go watch it :D