Has Pixar lost its magic touch? No.
If you’ve had any concerns about the quality of Disney/Pixar’s Brave based on the number of luke warm reviews its received, you can stow your fears in a sporran and toss it, caber-like, into a…glen? It’s a funny, inventive and consistently enjoyable tale that follows a flame-haired princess in ancient Scotland as she tries to find a way to appease her mother while still retaining her tomboyish personality.
Talking too much about the plot might sour the experience of Brave, but what’s obvious from the start is that this feels far more like a Disney film. It lacks the contemporary setting or pop culture savviness of a typical Pixar movie and falls more closely in line with The House of Mouse’s traditional fairytale-pilfering canon. At times it resembles a reworking of Disney’s excellent Tangled, albeit with a darker twist to the story and less singalongs. But it is this familiarity that allows Brave to easily ingratiate itself with audiences young and old alike.
It’s worth pointing out that despite Pixar’s much lauded back catalogue, the studio had not made a movie with a strong female lead until Brave. The fact that the film then chooses to explore the relationship between mother and daughter, rather than father and daughter, or the stickier subject of romance, is refreshing. In fact men are presented as goofy and prone to action before thought in the few scenes during which they take precedent over female characters. This progressive approach will all wash over kids, of course, but the tide mark it leaves on them won’t soon be scoured away.
While the tepid memory of Cars 2 may still be lingering in the minds of adult viewers, Brave does much to souse the slate clean, with enough points of merit to fill a medium loch.