Disney and Pixar team up yet again for another animated film that promises to entertain the young ones while offering up enough wit, humor and mature themes to keep the adults engaged and not completely upset about their trip to the theater. Brave isn’t their best effort, but it deserves much more credit than it has been given, because it’s a visually stimulating spectacle that offers up a traditional story mixed with a little a new-age twist that reminds us why we trust Disney and Pixar to always deliver the goods, despite their Cars 2 fumble.
Brave might be one of the hardest summer films to peg as far as disappointments or living up to hype is concerned. Most of the original reactions were rather harsh, but there are still a few out there that appreciate the film for what it is and what it’s trying to do. I’m one of those people, despite my normal lack of interest towards anything Disney or Pixar.
It’s not that I don’t like the pairing, but I generally find their films good, but never worth high praise, aside from the original Toy Story and maybe Up. Those two films have stuck with me over the years, while the rest of their crowd-pleasers simply occupy my mind for two hours.
Brave is a whole other beast. It’s thoughtful and funny and it attacks its themes and morality without a hidden agenda or layered story. It’s simple and to the point and not once does it try reinvent the formula that it’s running with. It’s your traditional princess coming-of-age story, wrapped with a modern twist that speaks to audiences now just as much as it spoke to audiences back when other Disney classics were released.
The marketing did a great job keeping the reveal from most audiences and I believe that is a heavy reason why people are walking out upset or underwhelmed. The secret isn’t all that much of a secret once it’s revealed and even though that makes no sense I believe what I’m trying to say is that the film is basic, but it uses that to its advantage.
Kelly Macdonald provides her voice as the leading lady Merida and she creates a strong-willed and stubborn young girl that’s on the cusp of childhood, leading into adulthood. She gives the character a much-needed backing that’s still funny and easy going whenever she needs to be. I suspect this character will go down as one of the more memorable female leads in a Pixar film, because there’s not that many of them.
Brave shifts itself back and forth between being a harmless little children’s tale while also rearing its serious head as the age-old tale of appreciating what or who you’ve got and learning to grow into your own free spirit with your family planted at your side. The film is given a few extra doses of that unneeded syrupy Disney charm that’ll attempt to lay on the tears or get you choked up when things get better, but for the most part Brave plays itself out in the open, with enough room for any emotion without feeling too forced in.
I’m not defending Brave as the perfect Disney/Pixar masterpiece, but it’s a good piece of animated cinema that holds its own just fine next to Wall-E or Finding Nemo.
Disney brings this one to Blu-Ray with one of the best-looking 3D transfers that I’ve ever seen and one of the best 2D animated transfers currently on the market. Both transfers feature impressive amounts of color and variety, with the film’s landscape providing you with a sharp and detailed life-like experience. The 3D transfer sticks out as the better of the two, simply because it never skips a beat and completely engulfs you into the film.
The 7.1 Dolby TrueHD surround track whizzes at you with arrows and action. There’s not many moments in the film that are quiet or inactive, which makes this one a loud and engaging experience on all fronts.
Brave is absolutely loaded with bonus content. Here’s a full list:
- 3D & 2D versions of the film
- Audio Commentary
- Short Films (HD)
- Behind the Scenes (HD)
- Extended Scenes (HD)
- Promotional Pieces (HD)
- Fergus & Mor’Du: An Alternate Opening (HD)
- Fallen Warriors (HD)
- Dirty Hairy People (HD)
- It’s in English… Sort Of (HD)
- Angus (HD)
- The Tapestry (HD)
- Art Galleries (HD)
- DVD Copy
- Digital Copy
We can argue the placement of Brave in the Pixar lineup all day and night, but that really doesn’t matter. Brave might not be as rewarding to some, but it still works a hell of a lot better than most animated films on the market. Disney brings this one to Blu-Ray looking sharper and clearer than ever, plus they throw in a 7.1 lossless track to boot. I can’t imagine any way for this package to be any better than it already is.
I loved the film and will continue to revisit it down the road, while others will simply put it on the bottom of their shelf and consider it a Pixar failure. There’s really no way to find out where you fit in until you’ve seen it and experienced it for yourself. The Blu-Ray disc is more than worth a purchase.