At this point, Pixar is just showing off. You're not going to see a more beautiful, eye-appealing movie than Brave this year. This is the crispest, cleanest, smoothest animation they've ever done, which is really saying something.
The storytelling is simple and appropriate for this fairy tale. You won't be put through the emotional wringer like Pixar's weepy trifecta of WALL-E, Up and Toy Story 3. Instead, you'll be enchanted by the gorgeous landscapes of the Scottish Highlands and rolling with laughter at the film's humor.
Brave is a self-aware fairy tale, like Tangled and Shrek, but doesn't fall back on pop culture references. It's just tried-and-true visual and verbal humor. A great little gag here, a smart little joke there. And the wee brothers absolutely steal the show, so clever they are.
But the star here is Merida (voiced by Macdonald), the first true Disney princess, because she's a complete independent. There's no time for romance here, not when you're fighting giant bears and trying to reverse a witch's curse, and, more importantly, convince your mother an arranged marriage is no life for you.
Now, you probably won't be wowed by the writing of Brave, which is just fine. Not every animated movie has to be written with the emotional complexities of Pixar's top 3 mentioned above. Sometimes you just want a great adventure, and Brave boldly delivers that.
One final note: As much as I enjoyed Brave, the short before it (La Luna) was just about the most beautiful thing I've ever seen on a movie screen, no exaggeration. The 3-D surcharge is worth it just for that.