Tuesday Jun 26 2012
?Brave's heroine is a refreshing role model for children
By: Frank Miller Special to The News Messenger
?Brave? Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman Voice Cast: Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson and Billy Connolly Rating: Three out of five stars ?Brave?s heroine is a refreshing role model for children By Frank Miller Special to The News Messenger Even when the mighty Pixar stumbles, it still manages to make better movies than most animation studios. The critical derision of ?Cars 2? marked the first real chink in its armor and, while ?Brave? is a step in the right direction, it?s not quite up to the Pixar gold standard. The film is about a tomboy princess named Merida who is handy with a bow and arrow but indifferent to the ways of royalty. She butts heads with her tradition-minded mother, Queen Elinor, who wants to see her daughter married off per the royal custom. After seeking the help of a witch, who grants Merida a spell with unexpected consequences; the mother-and-daughter duo must figure out their differences to bring peace to the kingdom. The film is beautifully animated but script problems hamper its potential, due to a soggy middle section. The conclusions reached by the characters on how to solve their differences seem obvious and natural but their journey to reconciliation is much too brief and forced. However, there is plenty of humor. Children will certainly identify with characters whose parents don?t always understand them. ?Brave? also deserves credit for venturing outside of Pixar?s comfort zone. Not only is it Pixar?s first fairy tale but it?s also the first movie with a female lead character. Merida is not the typical animated movie princess. She?d much rather climb mountains than think about boys and marriage. It?s a refreshing take that empowers children to follow their true passions in life. The only aspect holding the film back is Pixar?s track record of unmitigated excellence. For any other studio, this movie would be a rousing success. However, Pixar can churn out stuff such as ?Brave? in its sleep and, because of that, the film sits in the shadows of more celebrated and towering achievements. Frank Miller is a Sacramento writer.