[Note: I cannot remember names and such so the name Pixar is used alot as to refrencing the crew and staff involved for the specific things I am discussing with the name]
For the first time, I will start with trailers and everyone of them was in IMAX style 3D(had no choice in this matter, was the only showing for 90 minutes) so I can give you a good idea before hand if I would see it in 3D myself. I am not a full supporter for 3D and I think it should only be used as a tool to enhance the story and not a gimmick and want to give my opinion from what I saw of the effect in the trailers.
First was the new trailer for The Hobbit.... I MUST SEE THIS MOVIE!!! And 3D actually looked mighty impressive for live action. Was not sure if I was seeing it with the extra framing or not but it did look to be more defined than normal but not ultra realistic as some been claiming.
Second was a trailer for the cash cow franchise of Ice Age. I am beginning to think they are going for furry fan service with the Jeniffer Lopez sabertooth. Over all, 3D looked impressive and I actually did start to feel a tad motion wary from the fast pacing and movements(IMAX size remind you) and the chipmunk things were cute but its looks to be the same jokes from the other films. [Edit: I had forgotten about the female sabortoothed squirrel in the third movie. Okay, maybe not the first time they pandered to furries]
Third was the same teaser of Despicable Me 2 with four minions singing ' Barbara Ann' (bannana and potato) while one constantly blows a party favor at your nipple. Its amusing but they been playing this trailer for some months now.
After was a trailer for the 3D re-release of Pixar's 'Finding Nemo'. No need to explain this one but unlike other re-released films in 3D, this looks great. You basically watch fish swimming in the air. Starfish hanging on an unseen aquariums. This is the kind of movie that should be in 3D
Then they showed Wreck-it-Ralph. I was sold when I first saw this trailer on the internet last week.. 3D seems good but not noticeable except at the beginning when they showed the arcade machine and you could see the depth from the front glass casing to the actual video screen. Oh, the game of Wreck it Ralph is made into an actual 8bit game and can be played at the web site. I recommend it: http://disney.go.com/wreck-it-ralph/
Then the first teaser for the new Monsters University, the prequel to Monsters Inc. I laughed. all I can say since it really is a teaser. X3
Now for the Pixar short that is to be expected before every Pixar film. This one is called 'La Luna' and it was beautiful. I will not say anything except that its a small tale of a Father and Grandfather introducing the new generation to the family job. Pixar might have wavered on one or two of their features lately but their shorts are still mini masterpieces.
Now did they waver on this Feature? No.
'Brave' is what one should expect from Pixar doing a Disney like princess fairy tale. But this is Pixar who has proven that they know how to tell and present a story.
Its as the trailers show, the story of a Scottish tomboy princess whose mother wants her to be proper when she is more like her father and rather be horse riding and perfecting her archery. But then the tradition of the other clans presenting their first sons to marry her comes and all she wants is her freedom. Without spoilers that the trailers have not shown, that is just the first ten minutes and she makes a deal with a witch to cast a spell to change her mother so that the daughter's fate will change as well. And it backfires as to be expected. Oh, and there are bears.
Now from that synopsis, you can see that this entire story has been done before and is what hurts it. Anyone who read my Rock of Ages review knows I made the same complaint for that. Pixar did not give any twists to spice up the story either. Actually, they added another cliche that is VERY close to a previous Disney film and one that some had already figured out from the trailers. But what Pixar did right was the focus on the mother and daughter relationship. It starts off how you would expect the tale of a mother trying to groom their daughter to be like them but this was the first time I seen a film show the effect it had not only on the daughter but on the mother as well. They show how the queen is conflicted and saddened by how its separating them but its all she knows. And add the fact that she is the real authority in the kingdom due to the fun loving king, she really has some stress in handling and raising a family while keeping the lands organized and in order. Now add Pixar's way of drawing out the emotions of the audience like they have expertly accomplished in the past. Yeah, I got teary eyed a few times like at some of their other films.
Its obvious what matter Pixar wanted to focus on for effects in this film: Hair. And not just the hair on heads but farcical hair, peach fuzz, body hair, and animal fur. All looked great. I never seen wet animal fur look this real in a CG animated film. Also the bears anatomy and musculature looked authentic when it was called for.
And the last thing I will say: The first use of Pixar human butts! XD
The only real things that hurts this movie is the fact that it is the Disney princess 'want to be free' plot and not much is changed with it on top of another well used plot device. Also the Will-o-Wisps are a nothing more than a major McGufin to just get the story moving. But Pixar knows how to draw out the emotion of its characters and give a great story that makes you anticipate and fear for everyone involved by the movie's climax.
4 out 5 stars ****
Oh yeah, there is a funny after credit scene.
Any questions you want spoilers of may be asked but I will PM the answer