In Scotland, stories of battles and legends have been passed through generations. Merida (Kelly Macdonald), a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), is determined to prove her worth. After ignoring an age-old custom sacred to Lords MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), Macintosh (Craig Ferguson) and Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane), Merida inadvertently causes controversy and chaos in the kingdom. When Merida turns to an eccentric witch (Julie Walters) for help, a curse is inflicted on her. She must now save the kingdom from the curse, and in doing so, discover the true meaning of bravery.
Review By Casey Lee
"Brave" is another great show that has all the hallmarks of Pixar's stylish and technical brilliance, but it does not show the courage to be what it is destined to be. There is everything to love about "Brave" from the get-go, but audiences may continue to search for something that is missing and get lead on to find nothing when it is over.
"Brave" tells the tale of Princess Merida, the firstborn daughter of King Fergus, set in a small Scottish kingdom forged from the alliance of Fergus and the lords of three other clans. Merida is strictly tutored and tempered in the ways of being a courtly lady by her graceful mother Queen Elinor, much to the dismay of Merida, who has a boyish preference for horseback archery (and a fine archer she is), climbing mountains and letting her fiery hair blow in the wind. Despite the constant wrangling between mother and daughter, Queen Elinor is convinced that her daughter is finally prepared for the one purpose that she has groomed Merida for all her life; marriage, to one of the 'suitable' heirs of the three lords, who have gathered at their king's doorstep to win her hand by right of arms.
In case you didn't know, "Brave" is supposedly an entry into a brave new direction for Pixar to introduce strong female protagonists in their movies as a reinvention of Disney's princesses. "Rapunzel: A Tangled Tale" and "The Princess And The Frog" were the precursors to this idea, and the setup in "Brave" does strongly suggest its feminist tones about gender roles. "Brave" certainly had every potential to be the adult voice to speak out to the emotions of the fairer sex that "Snow White And The Huntsman" pretends to be, but it sadly never hits the mark, if it ever attempted it.
From the pivotal point of the story (which will not be spoiled here), debutant director Mark Andrews and "Prince Of Egypt" co-director Brenda Chapman takes the fairy-tale route and leads the audience through the expected misadventures that arises from the situation, but never ceases to find a resting spot to fire that touching moment of realization home that has become the sort of masterly storytelling that you would anticipate from Pixar. What it becomes is a soft expression of its themes that reads more like the superficial lesson told at the end of a children's story, than the meaningful punch in "Up", "Finding Nemo" or "Wall-E". | |Aside from the meta-dissatisfaction though, "Brave" is still the eye candy that you've hoped to see. It is worth mentioning, however, to skip the bulky 3D glasses (unless you couldn't resist the temptation of an early 3D release a week before it's 2D counterpart) because there isn't many scenes in the breathtaking and mystical forest that justifies the extra charge, and the best parts of the experience comes from the Celtic soundtrack composed by Patrick Doyle, anyway.
The voice casting is excellent and almost authentic, especially Merida by Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald, to deliver a well-written script, but the lack of subtitles may handicap those not accustomed to the accent (although there is one character that is intentionally unintelligible, so don't be too hard on yourself). The irrelevant characters are lovable, especially the triplets, and just by going for the enjoyable hijinks of the characters alone, it is still a highly entertaining ride of two hours well spent in the cinema, but that may not be the only reason why you are going to watch a Pixar film.
As a side note, do try to arrive early to the hall before the show for an all new short Pixar feature and stay after the long credits for a short ending scene as well.
"Brave" would be first released in 3D format in cinemas all over Malaysia on 21 June and in 2D and 35mm on 28 June. It would be released in all formats for Singapore on 8 August including in IMAX 2D.
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