Brave is not one of Pixar’s finest, but it’s a superbly animated film about a mother-daughter relationship.

Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Witch (Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late. — (C) Disney

The animation is nothing less than what you would expect from Pixar. Its details, from Merida’s hair to the woods, is worth the ticket in 3D. The accent and soundtrack added an authentic feel to the Scotland inspired adventure story of a princess.

Kids and adults who can relate to the mother-daughter story will have a good time. However, others who expect the emotional punch and unique storytelling that Pixar is known for, may get disappointed.

Brave is a story of a warring mother and daughter who have opposing priorities mixed with an into-the-woods adventure.

Looking at the line-up of Pixar’s classics, this is too simple. The short feature “La Luna”, despite its lack of dialogue (two of the characters mostly mumbled), provided more wonderment.

Expectations aside, there were other flaws. The movie is filled with familiar elements that some audiences will surely deem as generic or cliched. Mixed in with the main story are sub plots that do provide the supporting cast room to shine, moves things along and adds action, but they are mostly forgettable.

There’s also the Queen’s character shortcut. She quickly transitioned into a sympathizing mother despite her daughter’s ill-advised wish. Pixar could have added a bit more conflict and spiced up the dynamic for a more effective resolution.

Although Brave is too safe in terms of Pixar’s standards, the technical mastery is there. More importantly, it offers a different princess story that doesn’t fall into the trappings of a standard Disney fanfare. Merida’s goal wasn’t to get hitched to a handsome young prince and live happily ever after. The movie doesn’t really have an evil villain.

She inspires everyone to decide their own fate, teaches her stuck up mom to loosen up a bit, and has kick-ass archery skills.

My Rating: 7/10

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