Monday, June 18, 2012

BRAVE - A Mom-Daughter Tale

King Fergus and his daughter Merida

BRAVE (animated adventure)
Cast: Kelly MacDonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Julie Walters, Kevin McKidd and Craig Ferguson
Directors: Brenda Chapman and Mark Andrews
Screenplay: Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman and Irene Mecchi from a story by Chapman.
Time: 93 mins
Rating:  *  *  * (out of 4)

PREAMBLE: Brave, Pixar's 13th animated feature, is basically a mother-daughter tale set in the Scottish Highlands and spiced with mirth, myth and magic. It is suitably action-packed and centred on a young red-haired heroine that most of today's young girls can relate to. However, its magical elements tend to run away with the story and leave older viewers dissatisfied.

Merida confounding her suitors and parents

SYNOPSIS: Merida (Kelly MacDonald) is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old suitor custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: the massive Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane). Merida's actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Witch (Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it's too late.

The first half of Brave is suitably absorbing, fleshing out the characters and personalities, especially of Merida and her mother who are the strongest individuals in conflict against each other. The others in the cast, especially the males, are mostly presented as caricatures, with most of them behaving like buffoons. The free-spirited Merida will not take her pick of them as her suitor - despite Queen Elinor's attempts to bend her daughter's will to the dictates of custom and tradition.

King Fergus and Queen Elinor
The story gets a bit weirder in the second half when it takes on a body-switch twist. From this point on, the battle of wills between mother and daughter is all but put aside as our attention turns to Merida's new crisis. Some reviewers have attributed the movie's lack of plot coherence to the fact that story creator Brenda Chapman left the project midway, leaving Mark Andrews to maintain the directorial reins. I wish to stay neutral on this debate.

However, I get the feeling that the plot is missing something when we consider that Merida, in pursuing her right to be 'liberated' rejects all suitors, but leaves her future and that of her 'kingdom' unresolved.

THE LOWDOWN: Not as memorable as Finding Nemo and Up, but entertaining for the kids, nonetheless.

NB: Brave is preceded by Enrico Casa Rosa’s La Luna, a charming six-minute short animation about cleaners on the moon.


At 10:40 pm, Blogger Amber Salm said...

From the animation point this movie is spectacular but somehow I am disappointed with the storytelling. Story was not catchy and interesting.
Brave Photo


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