26 June 2012

Brave 2012

As with a lot of other Pixar movies, there’s a short animation movie right before the main feature. For Brave, it was La Luna. It’s about three generations of people who are supposed to care for and clean up the moon. You see, the phases of the moon only show up because these guardians have been maintaining it. The grandpa and dad are bringing the son for his first maintenance work. The two adults both want the boy to do things their way, from the way he wears his hat to the tools that he’ll use. On the moon, they come across a problem that they couldn’t solve. The boy came into his own, deciding to wear his hat sideways, and use a bit of ingenuity to solve their problem. Once they’re done, they climb back to their boat on Earth and admire the crescent shape of the moon.
When the credits for La Luna came, I jokingly said that the best part of the film had come and we could leave. I wish we did.
There’s something wrong when the best part of a movie happens in the first 5 minutes.
I’m not sure what the appeal is for Brave.

The film tells the story of a (Scottish?) princess who doesn’t want to be married through a contest. She wants to choose her own fate and to marry for love instead. The Queen mother doesn’t agree. The two have a fight and the princess runs away. In an effort to use magic to change the queen’s mind, she accidentally inflicts a curse on her mother. The two of them spend the rest of the film trying to undo the curse, while learning the point of view of the other.

That’s essentially the entire story. I kept waiting for something interesting or memorable to happen, but it never happens.

Brave doesn’t have anything that’s inherently offensive or terrible. It just doesn’t do anything other than tell a generic fairy tale. There are only three locations in the entire film: Spooky Forest, Castle, and Castle Ruins. There’s supposed to be a lesson in Brave, but it’s something like ‘the power to change your own fate is within yourself’. I think the real moral should be ‘talk with your parents/child, and then you wouldn’t have to go to a woods witch to try to poison your mother.” 
There’s no real point in the story where we see why the Queen has changed her mind. Did she see something unique in her daughter while cursed that she couldn’t before? Not really.

What went wrong with Brave?

Toy Story had toys were sentient. They experience emotions just like us.
Monsters Inc. had creatures whose job was to scare children because they believe children are dangerous invaders.
Finding Nemo had a talking fish trying to find his son.
Wall-E had robots gaining sentience in a post-human world, and going through vast distances for love.
Up had a curmudgeonly old man trying to fulfill his dream after a lifetime of setbacks.
Brave is about a princess who wants her mother to be less controlling.

Usually, I think bad films can be salvaged with some minor changes. I don’t think that this film could really be salvaged at all. The problem, I think, is that it has a bad premise. Any of the other Pixar movies above has a more interesting premise. There are more stories that are available from the start. Brave did something worse than Transformers 3, or Harold and Kumar Christmas. It was boring from start to finish. It didn't push any envelope. There's no interesting ideas. There's no cute or funny animal. It was just a waste of time.

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