Brave (Andrews, Chapman & Purcell, 2012)

What’s it about? Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) is a headstrong Scottish princess who is at loggerheads with her mother (voiced by Emma Thompson) about her un-ladylike behaviour. Exasperated, she turns to magic to change her mother’s attitude, but gets more than she bargained for.

Is it any good? You’re usually on solid ground with a Pixar film and this original fairy-tale is no exception, with a good story, unbelievably impressive animation and a few laughs along the way (mostly courtesy of the Billy Connolly-voiced Fergus in this case). For a studio with such a reputation for innovation, it’s taken Pixar a surprisingly long time to make a film with a female character in the lead. Now that they have, they are careful not to let Merida conform to the standard clichés of the fairy-tale and it is refreshing to find a tale in which the princess is dismissive of all the male characters, with nary a notion of finding her ‘true love’. However, that doesn’t mean the film is not about true love, for it chooses instead to focus on the love between a mother and daughter, which results in a much more interesting and affecting relationship.  The film may be a bit rushed in its plotting, and is slightly muddled in finding a moral to its story, but that central female dynamic meant those bastards at Pixar tugged successfully on my heartstrings once more as the film moved to a predictably Happy Ending. In the interests of full disclosure, though, I must admit I was quite drunk watching this, so perhaps that was why I found myself sniffing quietly into my pinot grigio. Either way, I really enjoyed it. The film, that is, not being drunk. Although being drunk was good too.

I don’t trust you. What do others think? Pixar films tend to get compared to their own output, rather than normal standards, and this is generally regarded as second-tier Pixar. It may not be on a par with the likes of the Toy Stories, but it is still superior to most animated fare and we really shouldn't gloss over that brilliant animation, just because it's taken for granted from Pixar. Although I just have. It made a reasonable splash at the box office, but a little more care with the plotting would have won more people over, and maybe that Mumford and Sons song at the end put a few people off too.
Anything else I should know? In case anyone thinks I’m a big sissy-pants for drinking pinot grigio, it was out of a pint glass. And through a dirty sock. And I’d ran out of Listerine. Oh, I was Brave and drunk, alright.

What does the Fonz think? An arrow straight to the heart.

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