Despite the studio’s incredible streak of success at the box office for nearly the past two decades, Pixar showed last year with Cars 2 that it doesn’t always sh!t nuggets of gold. This year’s Brave aimed to seek some retribution for the animation studio and prove that the money-grubbin’ Cars sequel was an anomaly and wasn’t just a well-placed marketing tool for the new Cars Land that opened this month in Disneyland. Brave looked more good than bad, but ultimately the fool’s gold landed off target.
Two in a row can be regarded as officially a streak, so Brave marks the beginning of a concerning trend for Pixar. Sure, it’ll probably make truckloads of money no matter what like Cars 2 did, but I sincerely hope the animation giant doesn’t strike out next year in regards of content. Pixar’s made some of my favorite movies, and its success is usually due to the ability of their films to have profound emotional impact.
Brave has the ingredients of a good Pixar film, such as memorable characters (the woodcarving witch especially was a delight), a story that tries to tug on your heartstrings, and some beautiful visuals (CGI hair has probably never looked better). However, overall the movie feels more like one of Disney’s non-Pixar products, like Tangled (I do realize that both movies have gotten mostly good reviews, but whatever, maybe I’m finally growing up… nah).
The film was reminiscent of The Little Mermaid, and I’m not just talking about the ginger locks. The unconventional take on Disney’s renowned princess line with Pixar’s first female protagonist is commendable, but where Brave often stumbles is with its humor, even though it goes for bold (at least for a PG-rated non-DreamWorks Animation movie). I guess bold in this case meant getting those computer animators to make sure a bunch of male butts looked right. And although there were only a couple songs in Brave, they were awful.
Even if you discount last year’s Cars 2, this year’s Brave still doesn’t match the caliber of most Pixar films despite that the award-hoarding studio clearly tried hard. After a decent and promising first half, the second half of Brave devolved into something you’d expect pre-Toy Story a quarter century ago. La Luna, the short film that played before Brave, ended up being so much better and didn’t even need any dialogue. I’d rather re-watch that a few times or the afro circus again. Brave gets 2.5 out of 5 stars or C+ or Okay.