The first reviews for Pixar's Brave are starting to roll in, and I'm surprised by all of the mixed reviews. I thought for sure this would have been one of those Pixar films blowing up with positivity. Brave looked like it was going to deliver that Pixar greatness, but apparently not everyone thinks so. I'm still excited for the movie though!
Here's what's being said about the film so far...
IGN: "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, not unlike the Disney animation output of the 1960s-‘80s. That Brave will be a success is a foregone conclusion; one trip to any Disney store will illustrate just how many kids already know who Merida is and can’t wait to see Brave. However, there was a time not so long ago when people of all ages were amped for Pixar movies. Grownups will appreciate the artistry that went into making Brave, but they’ll likely leave yearning for the transcendent Pixar they fell in love with."
THR: "What results is a film that starts off big and promising but diminishes into a rather wee thing as it chugs along, with climactic drama that is both too conveniently wrapped up and hinges on magical elements that are somewhat confusing to boot. 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. On a sensory level, however, Brave is almost entirely a delight."
HeyUGUys: "What makes Brave truly special is that, even if it were stripped of its dazzling visuals, laugh-out-loud humour and dynamism, it would remain a clever, arresting and emotionally involving, yet inherently simple tale about the turbulent relationship between a mother and daughter and the fact that freedom may not be all it’s cracked up to be. It’s the emotional core, with all those extra elements sprinkled liberally on top that makes Brave the best animated film of the year, rewarding in droves. It’s quite simply, unrelentingly spectacular."
Variety: "Now Pixar gives princesses a go after making a dozen other toons, and though the studio brings its usual level of perfectionism and heart to the assignment, “Brave” seems a wee bit conventional by comparison with, say, how radically “The Incredibles” reinvented the superhero genre — not that Pixar’s eager international following will object. Adding a female director to its creative boys’ club, the studio has fashioned a resonant tribute to mother-daughter relationships that packs a level of poignancy on par with such beloved male-bonding classics as Finding Nemo.
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."
Bleeding Cool: "There’s been lots of evidence of the love affair between John Lasseter’s lot and Hayao Miyazaki’s mob over the years, but none of it as charming, and convincing as Brave, Pixar’s next. Because an even more sincere form of flattery than imitation is breathing in an influence until it fills you up, becomes part of you, mixes with your own ideas, and comes out again, coiled into the DNA of your own work.
Not every joke in the film works perfectly, and you may be surprised how small-scale a story it is, intimate and closed-in, but Brave is a rich, tender film and so exquisitely well-crafted that I was quite thoroughly won over."
Screen Daily: "Brave’s ancillary home video value will be robust, allowing viewers the frame-by-frame ability to more fully savor the movie’s creative visual depth. But its top-notch 3-D treatment makes for an immersive theatrical experience that should resonate with audiences worldwide.
Some of the action, including a third act showdown with a nastier bear, may be a bit intense for very young viewers. Slapstick-style action with Merida’s rascally triplet younger brothers, though, will prove enchanting. Enrico Casa Rosa’s La Luna, a charming six-minute short, plays in front of Brave."
The Playlist: "While Brave would have just been a cute, visually dazzling but ultimately disappointing Pixar movie, it feels graver and more serious because it’s been this long since they’ve taken on a female protagonist and this really should have been a bolder, more experimental exercise. In the last few years, like clans of Scottish tribesman, the houses of Disney and Pixar have begun to merge (for evidence look no further than the Randy Newman songs in “The Princess and the Frog” or the newly opened Carsland expansion in Disney California Adventure), and “Brave” seems like a natural progression of that melding. This doesn’t feel like “WALL-E,” it feels like “Tangled.” And “Tangled” (and “Brave”) are perfectly fine animated movies, with “Brave” at times reaching staggering emotional depths in the mother/daughter relationship, but it’s not enough. It’s too unfocused and cute and lacking in memorable set pieces (an enraged, enchanted bear named Mordu can’t even scare up any excitement). In the end, “Brave” stops just short of being truly magical."