After a strong start introducing the main characters, in particularly the wonderfully animated Merida, Pixar’s Brave stumbles and tumbles through an appalling screenplay.

It was a surprising choice by screenwriters Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman and Irene Mecchi to take the path they chose.  How could 4 people get it so wrong?
I feel the film would had maintained its strength, if the focus had stayed on the drive and determination of Merida to make it in the world, as her own woman.  No ‘spells’ necessary, no ‘animal intervention’ required.

Merida’s animation, it must be said, it really fantastic.  It’s one of the more finer and detailed character creations by Pixar.  The choice of voice artists are pitch perfect, with particular reference to Billy Connolly who completely inhabited the monstrous Fergus (or rather is Fergus inhabiting him), and Emma Thompson always splendidly delivering her lines.

Brave is also surprisingly scary. The audience I viewed the film with found many scenes frightening, mainly because of the loud and ferocious sound elements.  It’s definitely not a film for someone under 8 years old to view.  There were only a handful of laugh out loud moments – mainly when characters fell over or pulled funny faces.

The main issue for me is that I didn’t care if Merida was able to ‘rescue’ her mother.   The initial premise set up that Merida’s mother was overpowering, someone not in touch with her daughter’s feelings or expectations at all.  So to have her as the central device didn’t work for me.   Perhaps with 4 different writers on this film there were too many ideas.  Each wanted their own style, which instead delivered a mess of a film.

Score:  1.5 /5
‘Brave’ directed by Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman and Steve Purcell.

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