So, this is what a Pixar fairy tale looks like, huh? Well, it’s pretty good. For all its previous features, Pixar has specifically avoided making the same types of movies Disney has always been known for.
I remember in documentary footage about Toy Story they didn’t want to make a musical where the characters break out into song, for instance. So instead, they had Randy Newman write and perform the musical numbers, animating them as montages.
So here, we have a movie taking place in an older, fairytale world, with magic and actual fairies and witches, much closer to Disney’s wheelhouse. Brave’s arrow still hits the mark, though1.
The animation, as always, is breathtaking (just look at that hair). The acting also steps it up a notch, with the entire principal cast from Scotland (and a couple from England).
The story has real stakes, emotion, and suspense. You understand all the characters’ motivations, and become invested in them. It has that spark so common among Pixar fare, and humor that so crucially has parents laughing heartily alongside their children.
But how does it function as a fairytale? As such, it acts very strongly as a fable. Interestingly, it seems to have two lessons, one each aimed at children and their parents. It teaches children that there are no easy solutions to life’s problems; if something seems to good to be true, it probably is. It also communicates to parents (as is common in many family movies) that sometimes the kids do know best. And importantly, it doesn’t beat you over the head too much, though it does come close.
Do I consider Brave to be among the best of Pixar’s movies? No, probably not, but I look forward to seeing it again.
See what I did there? ↩