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    June 23, 2012


    BRAVE (PG13)

    Genre: Action/Adventure/Animation/Comedy
    Release Date: 21 June 2012
    Running Time: 93 minutes
    Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
    Director: Brenda Chapman , Mark Andrews
    Screenplay: Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, Irene Mecchi
    Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Julie Walters, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, Robbie Coltrane, John Ratzenberger

    Plot: Merida 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 custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: 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. REVIEWS AFTER THE JUMP
    “Brave” sets in the enchanted highland kingdom of Scotland and tells about a fair maiden named Merida (Kelly Macdonald). She is a skilled archer, bit of a tomboy, impulsive and the first-born daughter of King Fergus (Bill Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). One day, the king and queen decide to invite the other three clans to send their first son to win Merida’s hand in an arranged wedding. But determined to carve her own path of life, Merida chooses to defy the ancient custom so sacred that it possibly turns the whole kingdom into chaos, stressing the unity of the four clans in the kingdom into a dangerous test. With the relationship of Merida and her mother begins to fall out, she consults an eccentric bear-obsessed-witch for help. However, the help she sorted turns out to be even more ugly than expected, forcing Merida to discover the true meaning about bravery love to undo the beastly curse.

    “Brave” is the first Pixar movie that features a female protagonist on its leading role – a known fact. “Brave” is more of a fairy tale that does not feels like any other Pixar’s past offerings – an unknown fact yet to be tested. One thing for sure, Pixar has never attempted to combine a traditional approach that rips from the good essence of fairy tales with a feminist empowerment idea but here, it clearly moots the new direction with boldness. Whatever the gender talks or the forms of story are to be presented here, “Brave” has already chalked out an easy win for the animation giant company. Essentially, it avoids the same pitfall that humiliates the overall external product image of “Cars 2”.

    To be fair though, it should not be too difficult to beat that low-mark set by the previous attempt although the new arrival of “Brave” into the theatre does come with a lot of ambiguous expectation and brow-raising moments. Hence, “Brave” is elegantly and essentially a story about a princess – something unheard and never been done before by Pixar which is obviously been fueled by testosterone in the past. Even with the change of scenery, the end game result will definitely pleases the more conventional Disney followers but may also cause some disappointment from a certain quarter of the Pixar followers too. Fortunately, “Brave” is a low-risk and medium-stake gamble that partly pays off.

    Foremost, “Brave” embraces with full confidence on the aspect of writing the screenplay with enough instinctive perfection and fluid emotion. If that was lost in “Cars 2”, the line-up of up to four writers of “Brave” made a bold story-telling which signifies that not all has been changed by Pixar for this movie. They have not forgotten the essential components of creating believable characters, laughable humors and humble human story after all. The plot is fascinating and is engaging enough to muster a period of gasp on the idea and the central theme of the movie. The movie pays some respectable arguments to the thorny nature of mother-daughter relationship, then paving way for emotional and moving scenes that may be tear-jerker on its climax. While the writers decided to change the queen into a critter, little did I know that it will be working to the extent that it gives the relationship a unique perspective and comprehension.

    Nevertheless, it is also easy to question the risk level Pixar has decided to put into this one. Must be, due to the failure of “Cars 2”, Pixar goes back a notch down in expanding the concept hereafter. With a decent set of characters and main plot arc to move, the movie does very little to move forward right after. More importantly, there is not much to distinguish “Brave” from any other standard Disney’s fairy tales or mediocre animations because you will not be blessed with anything new or anything revolutionary.

    At times, it feels quite predictable and stereotype. It may be a far cry from those which set upon by “Ratatouille”, “The Incredibles” and “Wall-E”, but “Brave” is still a notable entry that knows how to entertain. I cannot put aside my suspicion that the young children will benefits the most from this entry while the adults will be left ponder when we will see the stronger Pixar again. To call that they have lost their touch would be an unfair notion considering how “Brave” is a total opposite of what we have known.

    As usual, “Brave” is coated with splendid colors and special effects that add significantly into the movie experience. With the stunning visual in play, one cannot be more amazed with “Brave” in this department. The 3D is nevertheless not as immersive and can be straining at times, no thanks to its dark complexion. The 3D is a worthy addition though it is not a must.

    In the end, “Brave” is an entertaining, moving and beautiful movie that suits the family audiences very much with the meaningful plot, exciting adventure and interesting characters; but it takes some toll for not been bolder, inventive and predictable.

    Story: 3.5
    Casts: 4.0
    Cinematography: 4.0
    Effects: 4.0
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 14.9/20.0

    "Brave (3D)" is now showing in cinemas nationwide, the 2D and normal version will be released next week.
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