Great animation, so-so story

Brave Disney/Pixar Rating: G 100 minutes

Pixar is looked upon as the major animation studio in Hollywood, but their latest, Brave, is a disappointment. Not that it is bad. In fact, it is pretty decent, but not up to normal Pixar standards.

It falls down in the story department. It’s about a historic, flame-haired, Scottish princess (beautifully voiced by Kelly Macdonald) who is an independent tomboy, much happier charging through the woods on horseback and shooting arrows at the world than acting proper. But it’s time for her to accept marriage to one of the sons of local lords vying for her fair hand.

However, she’s not ready for marriage and none of the prospective grooms are appealing. So she dashes off and meets a witch (Julie Walters) that puts a spell on her mother, who is pushing for the marriage. Up to here things work okay, but the spell turns her mother into a bear, an animal hunted by her father and just about everyone else. From here the story goes downhill, despite the expected upbeat ending.

Now the animation is lovely, the characters, animals, Scottish castle and woods are beautiful. Emma Thompson voices the mother, and Billy Connelly is great as the father. Some of the supporting characters are a hoot too. And this is a positive story about mother/daughter relationships, with the lead character portraying an independent, albeit anachronistic, young woman. Somehow this should appeal more than it does.

Unfortunately, you expect a better story with Pixar, and this one doesn’t deliver.

Rating: three deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.