The following review is spoiler free and is meant to be read BEFORE seeing the movie.
Brave is a good movie because it made me care. And despite whatever reservations and quibbles I have, Brave still made me care what would happen to whom throughout its runtime, and I am grateful. Merida is a daughter of nobility whose passion is archery. Yet she is told that she must put away such boyish endeavors and live life like a proper princess and marry somebody from another noble house and blah blah blah. This story has been done to death. I won’t say that Brave breathes new life into this story, but I will say that Merida’s characterization is what kept me going. She isn’t sidetracked by an unnecessary love story, and she learns lessons unrelated to love and courtship. Now that is refreshing!
One of my major concerns is that once again PIXAR takes a first half full of promise and then lets it descend into something generic. Even though the premise of Brave is certainly uninspired, the setup is at least handled deftly and told from an interesting point of view. And yet, with the half-way plot twist, Brave shifts focus from a strict character drama into a generic kid’s movie. I won’t say that the second half wasn’t handled well, but I will say that for once I wish a PIXAR movie had the guts to stick with where it was going in its first half and tell a strictly character-based drama.
Each PIXAR movie starts off like an indie film, but ends like a blockbuster. And while that trick works out for movies like The Incredibles or Wall•E, it doesn’t work here. In those movies, the shift feels organic at the least. Here, I was certainly surprised at the plot twist and thought to myself, “I didn’t see that coming!” But then I realized, “now I know where this is going.
Still, it is an enjoyable movie and worth a viewing.