Review: Brave


Director:Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell

Cast:Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson

Running Time:100.00


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. 


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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