Brave en­ter­tains but lacks en­chant­ment

Kapi-Mana News - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

BRAVE Star­ring (the voices of) Kelly Mac­don­ald, Billy Con­nolly, Emma Thomp­son, Julie Wal­ters, Rob­bie Coltrane. Screen­play by Mark An­drews, Steve Pur­cell, Brenda Chap­man and Irene Mec­chi, di­rected by Mark An­drews, Brenda Chap­man, Steve Pur­cell. 93 min­utes, rated PG (scary scenes). Show­ing at Read­ing Cin­e­mas Porirua, Light House Pau­ata­hanui. 3D for­mat re­viewed.

When it comes to Pixar movies, I’m used to hav­ing my heart tugged, warmed and even bro­ken, but about 30 min­utes into Brave it sunk a lit­tle bit.

It’s a key scene where plucky Scot­tish princess Merida rashly has a spell cast to ‘‘change’’ her mother, to soften the queen’s ex­pec­ta­tions of how a princess should be­have and to stop an ar­ranged mar­riage with some dork from an­other clan. What she gets is a very dif­fer­ent mum – as in a dif­fer­ent species – and movie-go­ers re­alise they’re es­sen­tially in for a ‘‘body switch’’ movie.

Per­haps I was dis­ap­pointed Brave wasn’t turn­ing out to be the epic its trailer and set­ting sug­gested – I do love a good fan­tasy quest – but the real­i­sa­tion the re­main­der of the film would be lim­ited to cute an­thro­po­mor­phic an­tics and Merida try­ing to undo the spell was de­flat­ing.

Don’t get me wrong, Brave is a solid, en­ter­tain­ing pic­ture with beau­ti­ful an­i­ma­tion.

And I can’t get too cranky at it when the trail­ers pre­ced­ing it are for Mada- gas­car 3 and Ice Age 4 (or was it 5?).

We’re get­ting an orig­i­nal story but Pixar has set its bar very high.

When they come up with a story that is only a lit­tle bit bet­ter than what­ever talk­ing an­i­mal movie a ri­val stu­dio is repack­ag­ing that month, it’s hard not to feel cheated.

In the past, Pixar has de­fined it­self by at­tempt­ing what other stu­dios wouldn’t dare, by widen­ing our eyes with imag­i­na­tive story telling.

The in­ten­tion and frame­work is there in Brave, en­dear­ingly cen­tred on a mother-daugh­ter re­la­tion­ship, but the magic is miss­ing.

Too many of the char­ac­ters are sketches or car­i­ca­tures and the hu­mour has fewer lay­ers than we’ve come to ex­pect from the creators of Toy Story, Mon­sters, Inc. and Find­ing Nemo.

The 3-D ver­sion is easy on the eye and in­volv­ing, though too dark for my lik­ing. As is tra­di­tional with Pixar re­leases, a short film pre­cedes the movie.

I rec­om­mend mak­ing it to your seat in time for La Luna – it dis­plays more imag­i­na­tion in seven min­utes than Brave does in 90.

Free spirit: Dar­ing Princess Merida gets the job done as the young hero­ine in Brave but the pic­ture’s ap­peal is more lim­ited than we’ve come to ex­pect from Pixar Stu­dio.

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