‘Brave’ and liberatedBy Rito P. Asilo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
OSCAR Wilde once said, “When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.” In the case of Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald), the red-haired protagonist of “Brave,” Pixar’s latest cinematic triumph, a witch turns her yearning for emancipation into a curse that puts the life of a loved one in grave danger.
Set in 10th century Scotland, Merida’s mystical tale revolves around the circumstances that transpire when she refuses her arranged betrothal to one of the sons of her father’s allies.
The princess’ defiance leads to a falling out between Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) and Merida, who, after ruining the family tapestry, flees into the woods—where she meets an old witch who helps turn the family matriarch into a bear! Worse, her adorable triplet brothers are likewise transformed into cubs after they take a hearty bite of their mother’s cursed cake.
Reversing the spell
When she realizes the gravity of her impetuous act, Merida sets out to mend the error of her ways by reversing the spell—but, how? She has only two days to convince her father, King Fergus (Billy Connolly), that the bear he swears to get rid of isn’t the giant carnivore that bit his left leg off. If she doesn’t find a way to set things right by the second sunrise, the misfortune that has befallen her beloved mother and brothers will become permanent!
After “Cars 2’s” confounding misstep last year, Pixar reverts to top form as it carefully concocts a visually stunning animated confection that will have kids and their siblings cheering for a princess with a mind of her own—and it doesn’t hurt that her brothers are just as cuddly and precocious!
Merida is a true-blue Disney princess, but she breaks the conventional mold, because she’d rather tinker with a bow and arrow than play footsies with a dashing prince!
Moreover, she doesn’t want men to compete for her hand, because she can hold her own against any of them—truly a woman born before her time!
Unfortunately, if you’ve viewed all of Pixar’s 13 full-length features since 1995’s “Toy Story,” it’s easy to see that, while “Brave” is indeed entertaining and pretty to look at, it can’t approximate the groundbreaking narrative boldness that set “Finding Nemo,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Wall-E” and “Up” apart from the generic rest.
Merida’s fate will no doubt pique adult viewers’ curiosity, but their attention will waver when the cloying, more predictable sequences kick in—which isn’t what we expect from a Pixar production! Indeed, the pioneering animation studio has seen better—and “braver”—days.
Recent Stories:Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.