Brave - movie review

From June 25, 2012

Score: A
'Brave' is another winner from my favorite movie studio: Pixar. 
Yes, 'Brave' is Pixar's first film with a female lead. It's also their very first fairy tale (and has some dark elements as all fairy tales should) and they did a great job. 
The film is a bit scary for the little kids that it's being marketed towards (I wonder if Pixar will get any blowback from that), but it IS rated PG. I thought it was their first PG film, but 'The Incredibles' and 'Up' were also PG.
In seeing the trailer, I knew that I wanted to see it, but in all honesty I wasn't too hot on the story... as far as the trailer let on. In the trailer it appears that the whole movie is about a rebellious girl. Snore.
I'm so glad to report that the movie isn't only about that (only about the first 20 minutes is). The majority of the movie revolves more around plot elements that Pixar has apparently been tight-lipped about. And I'm not going to give too much away here. 
But I will say that the original title of the movie was 'The Bear and the Bow', which I think is a far better title than the one they ended up going with (Some people think 'Brave' is in part based on Mel Gibson's 1995 film 'Braveheart'. Pixar should have seen that comparison a mile off.) I guess they changed it because in the end might have felt that the title 'The Bear and the Bow' gave too much away. I don't know.
The animation of the bear is fantastic! Also, the music is phenomenal.
Some bad things: I do think that the acting/gesticulating of the characters is getting pretty outlandish nowadays. Rein it in a bit, guys. I also thought that Merida's three brothers were under used.
Some interesting things:
• The witch in the movie looked to me to be based on the witch in 'The Cobbler and the Thief'. That film is well-respected in animation circles, so maybe it was an homage.
• The original director--Brenda Chapman--was booted off the project in October 2010 for nebulous reasons. With a little digging, Chapman has said that it was over "creative differences." (Source:
• John Ratzenberger IS in the film, although I didn't notice him. He supposedly plays a guard named Gordon. I'll look for him the next time I see the film.
• One of the songs is performed by Mumford & Sons.
• Roger Ebert has said that the film had an uplifting message about improving communication between mothers and daughters. And in that way, some other reviewers I've read have equated it to 'Finding Nemo', which was a father/son tale