What do you get when you cross Freaky Friday with a Disney princess movie? With a title like "Brave" and a trailer showing a feisty princess shooting arrows and pissing off a bunch of warlords as she tries to change fate, I went into this movie expecting an action-packed adventure as our heroine became the warrior she'd always wanted to be. Instead, I got the above setup for a joke. It's not that Brave is bad. It's just disappointing for a Pixar film, and it can be mostly blamed on the story. I'd seen this movie a dozen times before I sat down for Brave: a straight-laced mother and rebellious daughter have a falling out when the daughter refuses to do what the mother wants. Hijinks ensue as a magical mishap forces the pair to find a new respect and remember their love for one another to break the curse. The plot fits perfectly within the standard Disney princess plot, too, except instead of finding her true love when she refuses the arranged marriage, the princess bonds with her mom. Furthering the disappointment, the film simply didn't do enough with the setting and transformation. This story could have taken place anywhere or anywhen else, and any other condition could have driven the mother and daughter together without losing anything from the story. Turning the mother into a bear simply reduced her to animal sidekick status rather than developing her character, so we never really learn anything new about her after the first third of the movie. I didn't hate this movie at all. I didn't even dislike it. I liked if not loved the characters, and would watch another movie about them in a heartbeat. The setting was gorgeous eye candy, and the animation was nothing less than the excellence I expect from Pixar (on that note, whoever was responsible for animating that gigantic mass of perpetually moving red curls deserves a goddamn medal), but sadly it was all weighed down by the tired and predictable plot. This movie had a ton of potential. I just wish it had lived up to it.
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