Tomatometer Watch: Brave

Pixar's 13th animated feature.

by | June 15, 2012 | Comments

Brave

79%

Enter the world of Brave and the tale of Merida, a Scottish princess who searches for freedom from cloistered royal life but inadvertently unleashes a curse across the kingdom.

Every new Pixar film endures enormous pre-hype and post-dissection, but Brave (Pixar’s 13th) adds a few more talking points for good measure. First, Brave is a fairy tale, a studio first. Second, the movie has had its share of development drama, namely the replacement of Brenda Chapman (also Pixar’s first female director) with Mark Andrews. For those keeping score, the same happened with Ratatouille (that’s a 96% movie, best-reviewed of 2007) and Cars 2 (38%, not quite enough for 2011’s top spot). And speaking of which, the third point: Cars 2 was Pixar’s first rotten movie, breaking an unprecedented 17-year Certified Fresh streak.

So what are the critics soothsaying for Brave‘s future? Can Merida’s aim be true enough to lead Pixar to glory?

Brent Simon, Screen International:Brave‘s detailed animation work is gorgeous. The increased textures of things like animals or Merida’s hair are areas in which animation rendering have been steadily improving over the last half-decade, but the complexity here of some of the movie’s clothing, sails and other tapestries is downright remarkable.”

Jim Vejvoda, IGN: “While a technical marvel, Brave is ultimately a lesser effort from a studio known for breaking new ground with such modern classics as Up, Toy Story, WALL-E and Finding Nemo. One wonders whether Pixar has moved into a new era where they will (gasp!) make decent, but not great movies.”

Peter Debruge, Hollywood Reporter: “The film [becomes] just another fairy tale, and only the youngest of children will be surprised by what follows. Familiar though its elements may be, Brave feels quite different from earlier Pixar films, demonstrating a refreshing versatility in an oeuvre that was starting to look a bit staid, especially as sequels overtook the slate.”

Todd McCarthy, Variety: “A film that starts off big and promising but diminishes into a rather wee thing as it chugs along. Not only is the tale laden with standard-issue fairy tale and familiar girl-empowerment tropes, but the entire project lacks the imaginative leaps, unexpected jokes and sense of fun and wonder that habitually set Pixar productions apart from the pack. Its ideas seem earthbound.”

The conclusion to draw: The plot is simple and surprising in its lack of surprises, but Brave‘s pure spectacle — a Pixar forte, natch — of pristine visuals and music and memorable characters sound enough to delight most audiences across the globe.

For all the reviews, pictures, and trailers, check out the Brave page on Rotten Tomatoes. Brave is out in theaters next Friday, June 22.

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