Allow me to get this out of the way right off the bat: 3D glasses suck. Maybe it’s because this writer already wear glasses, which makes sporting two pairs extremely uncomfortable, or because most of the time those plastic rims are typically as dirty and crooked as your favorite politician. Thankfully, Brave, Disney’s latest animated venture, is a film full of tender care and comfort. The flick also packs enough zing to keep your eyes – or six – on the screen at all times.
The term “comfort” tied in with one of HBO’s most successful programs, of course, is an oxymoron. But, yet while every King Minor in the mighty Fergus’ monarchy is infighting for their own eldest son’s royal hand, the princess herself packs more depth than the entire kingdom. And that’s a relief, considering the stereotypical “woe is me” weeping symbols of lipstick perfection the audience has been accustomed to. Like many young ladies of this new generation, Merida – voiced by Kelly Macdonald (“Boardwalk Empire”) — is fearless, independent and one hell of a straight-shooter. It’s akin to why so many people gravitate to (perhaps future princess) Arya in the adult “G.O.T.” counterpart.
Both girls can fend on their own, but not without fault. And that’s when things get a little.. grizzly.
Of course, we don’t mean grey-haired-or-bearded since the Merida packs some dazzling red tresses. It’s when the Disney conventions of yesteryear are incorporated into the newer, livelier Pixar style of anime. The only bluff in this storm of red roses is the use of some of the Gaelic tunes. Shit got a little too “feminine me” at times, particularly during an early tableau of sap when you figured Hilary Duff would just have to make a cameo leaping alongside the princess during her rock-climbing escapade.
Yet, it’s in those sequences when Brave also shows that having a strong independent spirit and extreme willpower of self can still be a yoke. Even the four boys of the kingdom-clowns take pause in their interest when upstaged by the arrow-splitting skills of the ginger princess. And that’s when all hilarity ensues, especially when the younger version of King MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd) spews the most ridiculous inflection heard since Dustin Hoffman’s “Mumbles” from Dick Tracy. Billy Connolly’s feminine macho of King Fergus and his mischievous treat of triplet children are also among the film’s funniest spots. That is until his majestic wife, Elinor, takes the term “Extreme Makeover” to a whole ‘notha level.
To examine that notion about the Queen any further would truly spoil the best parts of the film; but Brave’s game of thrones doesn’t necessarily rely on a war of self-service. The true game here is played between Merida and her mama (about the whole arranged marriage thing, of course), which thankfully conveys a realistic nature many parents, who perhaps will be taking their children to see the film this weekend, will enjoy.
And thankfully for everyone else, Brave’s triple threat brilliance of cute story, bellowed humor and artistic motion is sure to barrel through even the stormiest of 3D lenses.