Pixar continues to hit ‘em out of the park with their latest endeavor Brave. Brave is the story of Merida, a young princess trying to reclaim her life from her obsessive mother who rules over every aspect of her life, including who she marries. Merida decides to take control and sees a witch to help by providing her with a spell that will change her fate by changing her mother. Her mother changes, but not in the way expected and the 2 are forced to work out how to get past the tests they both end up facing as a result of their choices.
Sounds deep, right? It kind of is really, surprisingly so actually. That’s one of the things I love about Pixar’s work, is the rich layering. Not just visually, but storyline, character development, everything, they’re just so damn good at everything. Brave is no exception as the story is one we’ve heard before but told in a fun, compelling and even philosophical way when you get to think about in retrospect.
Visually, Pixar just keeps raising the bar in terms of tech achievements with this environment being so natural and realistic looking it’s hard not to think these things are digital, not organic. The details and richness of the environment and animation is stunningly well done. One of the things they’re particularly good at is the subtle things. Like the way people’s faces move to convey emotion, it’s especially pronounced in here with the way the characters react and gesture with their faces. So good you don’t notice it as being this artificial, animated image, and that’s the point.
The voice over talent is great and includes: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, and Craig Ferguson. The directing and storytelling style are up to Pixar’s usual standard and don’t disappoint.
This is a good one for adults and older kids (it is PG by the way, not G), worth seeing it in the theater if you can catch it.
reviewed by Sean McKnight
Pixar is back with the third installment of the beloved story that started it all. And you would think that it would be tough to keep things fresh but as usual, the excellent talent behind Pixar manages to do just that…
At this point, Andy is getting ready to move off to college and the fate of the toys is in question. Off to college with Andy? Off to the trash heap? Banished to the attic? All weigh heavily on our weary heroes as they end up split up and sent off to different points including a day care center. The Sunnyvale Daycare center seems nice enough but the toys quickly find that not all is as it seems. Meanwhile, Woody is trying to get back to Andy and is torn while trying to reunite with his friends at the same.
It all plays out in a way that you would expect but that’s part of the enjoyment. This is a G film and even though all seems dire, it all works out in the end. The writing is spot on and really keeps you wondering how things will work out and who will end up where. There’s a lot of humor of course, some geared towards kids, some adults (the Ken and Barby segments are really clever). There is a moment where your heart breaks a bit, but they do a very good job at smoothing the moment over and making you glad they did it anyway.
The talent from the first films are back with some new additions. The impressive lineup includes: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, John Ratzenberger, Estelle Harris, Laurie Metcalf, and newcomers Ned Beatty and Michael Keaton.
See this one with or without the kids, you’ll enjoy it either way.
reviewed by Sean McKnight