Spoiler-free part: I bought the Blu-Ray of Brave without having watched it before, because c'mon, it's PIXAR, it's a safe bet that I'll want to own it! Was a good movie. Not quite a good as Lion King(aw damn, I compare to my favorite movie too much) or How To Train Your Dragon, but was a good story with enough laughs and surprises. It's also my second Blu-Ray movie watched. The first was Tin Tin(rented), which I haven't mentioned here. Tin Tin was good, too, but I didn't feel compelled to write a review.
No spoilers, but maybe best after watching it, since I'm looking at it from a 3D animator's critical eye and it might ruin your enjoyment of some scenes if read before forming an opinion: . . . I couldn't help noticing a few things that could have been done to improve the movie. I feel they didn't use depth of field enough(everything is so CRISP! but at least there was SOME depth of field happening), and I'm still deciding if the movement was dynamic enough(Tangled had nice expressive character movement, and Tin Tin looked motion-captured with a little extra tooniness for the INTERPOL agents). The backgrounds in Brave were very realistic(OMG the STREAM!), which made the faces that looked like clay or plastic seem really out of place. This is common with many CGI cartoons, but I feel the faces just looked too plasticy. I didn't notice any texturing on them. Granted, the women would be wearing makeup that would make their faces smoother, but they looked REALLY plasticy. I think, though, that the fact that I saw Merida's 3D model without hair in some behind-the-scenes thing a week before made her look really weird in my mind. She looked weird with no hair, then the only change I saw afterward was that it had hair and more clothes. Not even more shading and texturing. There was one shot that I thought was unfinished in the bonus features, then I watched the movie with commentary and no, that was the finished shot.
Also, her face shape, eyes and crazy red hair made her look like Chucky(You cannot unsee the resemblance, sorry). This is the worst part of the movie, for me. Scary.
I noticed that when the horse is running, it NEVER kicks up any dust. Dust would be dirt simple(pardon the unintended pun) for Pixar, especially from a distance. HOWEVER, as I mentioned this to my mom, she brought up that Scotland's dirt would be rather moist and not produce any dust anyway. Hmm, good point. I then mentioned all the dew on the grass, to which she mentioned that yeah, in the bonus features, they had cut a scene where King Fergus was hunting for more dew. Yeah- Wait, huh? Mor... *headslap* MORDU! LOL! Mom mis-heard them when they said the villainous bear's name. Another thing I noticed is that no grass was ever disturbed, at least as far as I saw in 2 viewings. Yes, feet or bodies interacting with grass is expensive, but this is Disney. When somebody was slammed against the ground, it also just happened to have very sparse grass in just that one spot. This is just a small nit, really. Lion King did this, too, having the grass already flattened and never moving when Simba, Timon and Pumbaa were staring at the stars, even after Simba got up, but I give that movie a pass because it's 2D and the grass is a matte painting. In general, I prefer 2D animation, I'll admit that. Everything is just so dynamic, and characters stand out MUCH better. For human characters, there seems to be a "standard cgi character" look to them and they just look like everybody else. In the case of Merida, they didn't do all that well at the standard look. The male characters looked great, though. Her dad even had a few freckles and red areas on his face. And the hair, the hair was used very well on all characters.
Whenever I start making animated cartoons, I'm sure I'll seem like a hypocrite with some of the words above, but my main defense would be this: I'm just one person, and not Pixar. Also, even though I prefer watching 2D cartoons, I prefer animating 3D cartoons. I think 3D cartoons can look as exciting and varied in style as 2D cartoons(OMG Space Stallions!), but most studios don't try for that. I'll try to incorporate what I like about 2D cartoons in my animated cartoons, though.
SPOILERS for Brave, all ye who read past this part!... . . . . . . I wouldn't have been disappointed if Elinor had stayed a bear at the end of the movie, and the boys would have LOVED to have stayed bears! Oh, they were so CUTE with their big heads and innocent looks on their faces! Alas, that would have also meant that Merida and Elinor hadn't patched things up between themselves. It seems like a typical Disney ending, with everything being fine and dandy at the end, but it was necessary for the story. Still, can you imagine the sequel that would come of that? "Brave 2... And The 3 Little Bears". Merida would have to make mention that her brothers are acting like ANIMALS. I appreciate people mentioning the bears without giving spoilers, heh. That kept the surprise un-spoiled. They did really well with all of the bears, and mama bear looked pretty realistic.