Tuesday, July 3, 2012


(WARNING: plot SPOILERS below!)

After seeing the trailer for Pixar's “Brave”, I got very excited. The characters and animation look so great!

So, last week, I was able to catch an early screening of the animated feature in glorious 3-D. What a fantastic visual feast it was – it compares very favorably with one of my all-time favorites, “How to Train Your Dragon”. The character designs are by the great Carter Goodrich, naturally. However, while watching the film, my brain flashed on the thought “Where's the storytelling?” This is supposed to be a Pixar film – where was the vaunted brain trust? The story was a Disney story – very traditional and kind of conservative. Where was the genius? For example, the little princess' mother gets turned into a large bear, and then struggles to escape being seen – and as she races through the hallway, she bumps into the walls, knocking down pictures and pottery, over and over again. I felt like I was watching a bad “Three Stooges” film. Where's the wit?

Another example: the princess meets a witch who gives her the magic words to break the spell on her mother, and throughout the film I wondered when this little ditty will be utilized. It never was, they dropped the whole magic word thing and shifted to a sew-up-a-rug solution! What? But even more puzzling was the lack of a really emotional climax, like in “Toy Story 3”. I heard there were story problems throughout the production of the film, they even demoted Brenda Chapman because she couldn't resolve her own story – and to my mind, there still are story problems. I don't believe “Brave” will stand up to the high standards of past Pixar films. Do you know who the star of “Brave” is? It's the princess' red hair, that was what I was fascinated by the entire film. I couldn't take my eyes off of her red locks. I'm sure the film will make a lot of money, but their story department is falling down on the job.

Maybe it's the tragic loss of story genius Joe Ranft, or the fact that John Lassiter is spreading himself too thin with all of his projects to really concentrate on story. Whatever else it is, “Brave” is not a Pixar classic, unfortunately.


  1. You're right about her hair being the star of the film. However, she is never supposed to say "the little ditty" to save the day. The words are for her to translate and figure out how to resolve the problem. It takes her time to do that. She has to give up her PRIDE to save her mother, not recite lines of dialogue.

  2. Yeah, I would have to agree that this is not one of Pixar's best. My brother really hated it, and I found myself feeling underwhelmed by it as well. By the time it got to the part where the mother gets turned into a bear, I thought, "Oh great, Pixar is now doing its own take on Brother Bear. How is this original?"