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Wayhomer Review #125: Brave 3D

Merida from Brave

Episode #125 for Brave 3D, in which our protagonist gets confused about what Pixar film was the last to be seen, tries to get at the heart of what a Pixar film is, and struggles to criticize a film when the worst you can say about it is that it’s good but not amazing.

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Special thanks to PhantomV48 for the closing animation.

Previous episode here.


  • I agree that Disney sometimes makes money in very crass ways. But why did they do everything in their power to avoid making money on John Carter?
    Haven’t seen Brave yet, but soon.

  • Neb: They had no idea what they had IMO. But I agree: the trailers were bad, the title was bad. I even think you could have tweaked the film just a little bit and improved it a whole lot. It’s funny: IMO you needed somebody doing the marketing who knew what JOHN CARTER was and somebody doing the film who didn’t. Go figure. Thanks for the comment.

  • Widge,

    I have seen the film twice. The first time I watched it, my thoughts mirrored yours. The film was good. The characters were sharp. And the animation impressed. Yet what I found midway was almost impossible to accept. It seemed to be one third Pixar film followed by an animated burlesque. Programmed buttcheeks, a curio shop that was part Bewitched part This Old House, and even moments from Braveheart (1995) somehow found their way in.

    I left the theater wondering WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED? My expectations, like most Pixar films, were trampled under the reality of what I saw. A madcap adventure arising from what felt to me a different film. In my gut, I knew the picture had pulled a Pixar on me. Only it was a massive distraction flirting with farce. The Three Bears, a Goldilocks figure, Stonehenge. There were so many references, so much to absorb, that I sensed confusion.

    So was it Pixar, or was it me? After thinking about it, I decided to retry. Knowing the device Pixar used to set all of it in motion, I watched scene by scene looking for hints or clues to tie it all together. The use of the word “beast” before the shift, the prologue in happier times, and the queen’s story all nudge and create a skeleton waiting for the meat of the caper to come along.

    And coming out of it a second time, I detected myself being moved as only Pixar films tend to do. Brave told such a story that one pass was not enough; knowing the hitch is essential to figuring out the mystery. Without it, you’re watching only a fragment.

    In most of Pixar, there are three thoughts and a prism to every film. If one can’t undercover the clues or the slant, than each film comes across bare. In the case of Brave: it’s the mirrored fragility of the generations, the repeating of past mistakes, and the complexities of shared experience compounded by the power of metaphor to shape the future. Yore is the lens that provides lessons into the acts that bind us.

    As men, as cultures, and as a people, the context for understanding ourselves is the history that lies behind us. The risk (which you say never happened) is the use of the very fables we take for granted and applying them to the everyday perils of contemporary experience. The rift between the generations, the temptation of doing what’s expected, and one’s hopes becoming a nightmare– are all very real.

    King Arthur, Great Expectations, Harry Potter. These tales we know. But it is the underlying fabric, the stitches of our common ancestry, and the stories we cling to that reveal who we are. The attraction is a barometer. The way we respond depicts how far we’ve come, and how much further there is to go. This is the film’s trick.

    As to the match moment, it IS the Robert Louis Stevenson. The whiff in the preamble (which isn’t explained to later), the ‘comic’ shift in the midsection, and the buildup that ends at sunrise…

    This isn’t clear until the second time. So trust your instincts. The difference was night and day. The balance of words and character emerged with time. In this age of superheroes, this one takes time. One bite just isn’t enough.

    First Time: *** ½ out of five

    Second Time: **** ½ out of five.


  • I actually slightly disagree. I think the story was very good. I believe with these characters there was more emotional investment for me. I really enjoyed the story of a mother and daughter mending and strengthening their bond. In fact I got a lump in my throat with the epiphany Merida had in the arms of her Bear/Mother at the end.

    This was a welcome return by Pixar for me. I really had no emotional investment in either the car movies nor Wall-E, so that made them overall less for me. I’d say 4 out of 5 for Brace.

    Widge, Keep making em and I’ll keep watching!

    BTW Can’t wait for Monster’s University!