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'Brave' Early Reviews: Merida May Not Be New Model Princess After All

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood June 11, 2012 at 2:16PM

The "Brave" trailers promo Pixar's foray into princess movies; the Disney animated feature is expected to be one of the summer's top performers. But early reviews suggest the tale isn't as fresh and groundbreaking as we'd hoped. Princess Merida is Pixar's first female lead, but may not prove to be a new feminist icon.
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Brave - Archery Shot

The "Brave" trailers promo Pixar's foray into princess movies and Disney's animated feature is expected to be one of the summer's top performers. But early reviews suggest the tale isn't as fresh and groundbreaking as we'd hoped. Princess Merida is Pixar's first female lead, but may not prove to be a new feminist icon. After a Spring that included Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games" and Noomi Rapace's Elizabeth Shaw in "Prometheus," a princess has some tough acts to follow. At least she can improve on "Snow White and the Huntsman." We'll catch the film at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Check out the reviews below:

THR: "For all its pictorial and vocal beauty, the film's emotional line and dramatic contrivances are both more familiar and less inventive than what's usually delivered by the studio,..What results is a film that starts off big and promising but diminishes into a rather wee thing as it chugs along,..Not only is the tale laden with standard-issue fairy tale and familiar girl-empowerment tropes, but the entire project lacks the imaginative leaps, unexpected jokes and sense of fun and wonder that habitually set Pixar productions apart from the pack. Its ideas seem earthbound,..On a sensory level, however, Brave is almost entirely a delight."

ScreenDaily: "Brave is essentially a body-swap movie impressed upon a comfortable fable-of-yore narrative template, wherein an at-odds parent and child rediscover their love for one another against a backdrop of magic-infused conflict. Amiable and action-packed without being overbearing about it, and marked by a new level of visual complexity, even by Pixar standards, the film peddles with assurance and panache the pleasant tale of a new young heroine."

Eye for Film: "Some might argue that she's been a long time coming, but Pixar's first female lead is well worth the wait. Brave's sassy Scots Merida blazes a 'modern princess' trail as bright as her unruly locks. And though she might be considered a cousin of sorts to Tangled's Rapunzel, Brave is all about adventure and - unusually for a genre littered with wicked stepmothers - daughter/mother bonding rather than finding a handsome prince,..While Brave may occasionally shy away from darker territory in order to retain its appeal for even the youngest of audiences, there are still plenty of 'big' ideas here for small minds to think about."

Variety: "Though [Pixar] brings its usual level of perfectionism and heart to the assignment, 'Brave' seems a wee bit conventional by comparison with, say, how radically 'The Incredibles' reinvented the superhero genre -- not that Pixar's eager international following will object,..Though going all girly has made parent company Disney skittish in the past,..this new Celtic princess comes off as enough of a tomboy to ensure near-universal appeal,..[It] offers a tougher, more self-reliant heroine for an era in which princes aren't so charming, set in a sumptuously detailed Scottish environment where her spirit blazes bright as her fiery red hair."
 

This article is related to: Reviews, Animation, Pixar , Reviews, Critics


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