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Customer Review

112 of 155 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The "Brave" Heroine Deserves a Better Story, August 6, 2012
This review is from: Brave (Three-Disc Collector's Edition: Blu-ray / DVD) (Blu-ray)
I like Pixar films. I like those lovely and likable characters this animation studio continues to create - Woody and Buzz, Sulley and Mike, Lightning McQueen and Remy the gourmet mouse chef. I also like Merida, the heroine of Pixar's new film "Brave." (She is the first female protagonist of the company's films.) And I tried to like the film itself, which is certainly entertaining, but fails to offer a story that this brave and independent heroine really needs. In short, Merida deserves a better story.

The story begins promisingly. Merida is a princess of a Scottish clan, with formidable skills with a bow and arrow. Being dissatisfied with a marriage arranged by her parents, she obtains a magic spell from a witch living in the woods so that she can thwart the marriage plan. As you expect, Merida's conduct results in a terrible disaster that she must somehow fix on her own.

The best part of the film is its visuals, especially those of Merida and her hair. Voice acting is also wonderful. Kelly Macdonald captures the spirit of strong-mined Princess Merida. Another good point is that the film sometimes seems having fun with genre conventions.. Witches are often depicted in a negative light, but in "Brave" the Witch (voice by Julie Walters) may be strange, but definitely not evil.

But the weak storyline needs improvement. That Merida looks often selfish didn't bother me. We know she will change, and she actually does, but the point is how she changes. "Brave" does not give the heroine a real challenge. A big bad bear is not good enough. A considerable portion of the film's second half is spent on silly slapstick involving her young brothers. Curiously Merida, a skilled archer, is not given enough chance to show what she can do.

"Brave" is better than last years' disappointment "Cars 2," but the film, despite its interesting heroine, is still a letdown.
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Showing 1-10 of 19 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 22, 2012 2:43:37 AM PDT
Zee says:
This film is also much better than the first Cars.

Posted on Aug 31, 2012 6:33:24 AM PDT
Ponder says:
This is a very thought provoking review. I agree they should have leveraged her skill set more. They had shown a couple of times how good she was with a bow and arrow(in practice), but simply did not apply it enough. Overall I still greatly enjoyed the story.

Posted on Sep 4, 2012 11:26:56 PM PDT
My friend & I were so taken by this film we could not look away for a moment. The growth between Merida & her Mother was wonderful. Her Mother as a Bear was Great. We still cannot get over the ending. When Merida is happily riding off in the sunset with her Mother. With no prince in sight. You can be a Princess & still be yourself & write your own path. Thankyou Pixar. Bravo.

Posted on Sep 29, 2012 7:09:52 AM PDT
N. Fallen says:
I wonder if they thought it'd be too much killing to leverage her skills more? It's tough to come up with non-mortal bow-and-arrow fights....

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2012 10:29:20 AM PST
Graywind says:
Jade: I've been reading many of the reviews of this movie (for the humor value of the reviews, I loved the movie), and I can't help but notice this is the third time I've seen this same exact commentary from you cut and pasted on different reviews... Almost like you just like to see your words on screen without actually making a contribution. Granted, that IS kinda what I have just done, but I wanted to make that observation...

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2012 10:39:31 AM PST
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2012 11:34:51 AM PST
Gregg P. says:
Next time please caution the reader if you're going to use a spoiler. :(

Posted on Nov 14, 2012 4:52:32 PM PST
Lin says:
Perhaps Merida isn't "given enough chance to show what she can do" because this film is representative of what a girl/woman experiences throughout her (real) life. Perhaps the writer's experience/cultural bias is showing. Don't know if you're male or female, but if you're a man, you can't fully understand what that's like. A "better story" would be wonderful. Let's hope our daughter's/granddaughter's worlds are different.

Posted on Nov 19, 2012 12:39:34 AM PST
w. mycroft says:
agreed. the storyline is weak in the knees. the comic interludes would be fun, except that they are interluding very little. neither merida or her mother seems much worse that upset by the fact that princess m has transformed her from an atrractive woman into a bear that may or may not be found attractive to other bears. simply ridiculous. first pixar i could not like. as a woman's work from beginning to end, i would have preferred that it shine, but only manages to gleam dimly.

Posted on Nov 24, 2012 3:20:14 PM PST
KF says:
You know, I don't actually agree with you regarding the challenge Merida faces. Why does her challenge have to be a physical one? I found it refreshing that she didn't turn out to be some warrior woman. It's been done a lot since Wonder Woman on. (Don't get me wrong-I love Mulan, for instance.) I don't know about anyone else, but it really seemed to me to be a story about her accepting her role as a ruler and about being true to the people who love you. I didn't find the moral of accepting responsibility but not "tradition" to be backward or mousy-girl at all. It was already a given that she was a formidable archer. She was going to become someone people had to be able to depend upon, so her speech to the chiefs was just right. I also like it that she wasn't just miraculously "in charge"
(she was still allowed to be a goofy teenager like her awful suitors) but she showed promise. It just wasn't the typical "fight" movie, that's all. It was a movie about growing up the right way. I think movies where "the opposite" of old feminine cliches is supposedly a fighting one is just the new cliche, is all. This is sweeter, and more true to the age of the heroine.
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