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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animated > Action > Fantasy > Mythology > Adventure > Comedy > Music > Computer Animation > Brave (2012/Disney/PIXAR Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray + DVD)

Brave (2012/Disney/PIXAR Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray + DVD)

 

3D Picture: B+     2D Picture: B/C+     Sound: B/C+     Extras: B-     Film: B-

 

 

After Cars 2 was met with good box office but very mixed reviews, PIXAR is back with Brave (2012), whose animation style is a cross between The Incredibles and Tangled, with the smoothness of the former going to the style of the latter.  With two directors (Mark Andrews & Brenda Champan) and a co-director (Steve Purcell), the production is large and somehow still manages to come together as a coherent single, but I found some of the results mixed.

 

For starters, it runs 93 minutes and does not always use that time well.  Some of the comedy is repetitious, we get sudden musical-like moments with unmemorable songs once too often and the screenplay offers TV sitcom humor that is fine for younger children but that is the targeted age group.  Unfortunately, previous PIXAR productions (pre-Cars 2?) were wider in the clever scripting they had including anyone who watched at any age.

 

It does have some moments that will remind older viewers of classic Disney despite a few holes in logic, as well as some latter scenes that may be too scary for younger viewers (the giant bears dark, disturbing color schemes look similar to the effective make-up work in Universal’s recent Wolfman remake), but in all that, this is still not bad.

 

Princess Merida (very well voiced by Kelly Macdonald of Boardwalk Empire) is a young lady lucky to have a great family, including her father (comic legend Billy Connolly) who lost part of a leg fighting a giant killer bear and mother (Emma Thompson) who is anxious to marry her off, but Merida wants to break that tradition and embarrasses the runners-up when she outdoes all in archery, an expertise of hers.

 

A chance to change things happens when she follows some glowing, flying willows in the forest and meets a woman who carves wood and is also a witch (Julie Walters of Educating Rita, Prick Up Your Ears and the Harry Potter films) comes up with a solution, put a spell on mom.  The only problem I had with that is that it comes in the form of a Danish of some sort that came out of the witch’s caldron and some parents (among others) will rightly find that aspect of the story a big no-no when so many alternatives were available.

 

SPOILERS AHEAD….  The result is Elinor gives it to a gift to her mother and mom becomes a bear!  This is played for comedy and older viewers will feel like they are watching a $185 Million remake of an old Bewitched or I Dream Of Jeannie episode crossed with Wonderful World Of Disney.  Despite that and some predictability, Brave is still fun with reservations.  The teaser trailer promised something more profound and even challenging, but we do not get that here.  At least it is something different for PIXAR, but not a total return to form.  It is a hit and most children (especially young females) should enjoy it.  I still caution parents on some of its content.

 

The fine cast also includes Robbie Coltrane, Craig Ferguson and John Ratzenberger.

 

 

 

The 2.35 X 1, 1080p full HD MVC-encoded 3-D – Full Resolution digital High Definition image is the preferred way to see this since the 3D adds narrative dimension to the whole viewing experience, especially with the advanced PIXAR animation technology to its great advantage.  The quality here is very consistent and even fun, even when the film is not.  The 1080p 2D digital High Definition image transfer is nice, clean and clear, though it is (no pun intended) flat as compared to what the 3D can do, making it simply not as fun.  The recreation of the locales real and imagined in the CG animation is tailor-made for 3D and the 2D is solid, but still no match for the 3D.  The anamorphically enhanced DVD version is softer than expected and passable at best in the low-def format.

 

The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix is a really good mix, but at times, is not as enveloping and memorable as other 7.1 Disney releases.  It also has some relatively quiet moments (not unlike The Amazing Spider-Man) so the rating does not just denote quality, but character.  It is also one of the best Dolby TrueHD mixes on the market, so it deserves recognition for that and has enough state-of-the-art moments to challenge any serious home theater system just the same.  The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD by comparison sounds more restricted and limited than I expected.

 

Extras include Digital Copy for PC and PC portable devices, all discs have feature length audio commentary tracks, the Legend Of Mordu short and terrific La Luna animated short, while the Blu-ray 3D has La Luna in a terrific 3D presentation.  The 2D Blu-ray adds Extended Scenes and short pieces including Brave Old World, Merida & Elinor, Bears, Brawl In The Hall, Wonder Moss, Magic, Clan Pixar and Once Upon A Scene.  The bonus Blu-ray adds an exclusive Art Gallery, Promotional Pieces, Alternate Opening and short pieces including Fallen Warriors, Dirty Hairy People, It Is English… Sort Of, Angus and The Tapestry.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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