Plucky heroine who is headstrong and courageous — check. Daft and funny secondary characters — check. Heroine who wants to be taken seriously and challenges any man who would cross her path — check, check, check.

Many films in the Pixar canon are delightfully conceived works of art. Triumphs like WALL-E and Ratatouille were about the creativity and originality in their storytelling as much as the beautiful animation. There is no doubting the beauty of this film (evidenced by scenery and its heroine’s blazing head of red hair) but its storytelling is a little more predictable.

Brave’s Merida is cut from the same cloth as Mulan, Rapunzel and Pocahontas before her. There are strong comparisons with many other Disney films and their themes of self-reliance.

It’s disappointing, then, that Pixar’s first film to focus on a female character doesn’t tell a more original and compelling story. Even its scope feels limited by its strangely unengaging premise.

To its credit, Brave challenges the Prince Charming myth and it has a central relationship between mother and daughter may resonate with its core audience.

But, if it’s about transformation, acceptance, empowerment and understanding, Brave isn’t compelling enough to make those messages stick.

Adrian Drayton


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