Pixar new world is a mixed bag
Uh oh: is the first Pixar movie that doesn feel like a Pixar movie.
This takes more getting used to than you might think. After 17 years and 13 blissful feature films (you don have to count 2 if you don want to), we comfortable with, if not beholden to, the company magic touch. Pixar stories are more original than the family film competition, its visual invention more inspired, its scripts mo replica watches re ambitious and deeply comic. The company dares to treat kids like adults and lets the grown ups relocate their inner kid.
The first half hour bumps along with humor and a striking lack of direction. Merida (voiced by 36 year old Kelly Macdonald) is a tomboy with a personality as fiery as her h replica watches air, and that hair itself is a marvel: a bewitching digital tangle of neon that almost deserves a 3 D movie of its own. So do the princess little brothers, carrot topped triplets who steal as expertly as they steal pastries from the castle kitchen.
Merida father, King Fergus (Billy Connolly), is all battle scarred, peg legged, bear hunting Id, amusingly drawn as a mountain in a kilt. Her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), is the castle poised Super Ego, constantly reminding the girl of her princessly duties. The clans are coming MacGuffins, Macintoshes, and Dingwalls and Merida has to take one of the princes for a husband, but she would rather run off to the high crags and sing a drippy Disney ballad about being free. The standoff between mother and daughter escalates, unforgivable words are exchanged, doors are slammed. To anyone with the double edged luck to live with a teenager trying like crazy to become her own person, this is both familiar and over familiar.
Except that I doubt there a witch (Julie Walters) in your neighborhood to give an unhappy girl a potion that might change mother mind and body. If you don want the mid movie twist spoiled, stop reading now. I mean it: Now. If you want to be parentally prepared, I can tell you this: Thompson mama bear gets turned into a literal Mama Bear.
Hilarity ensues. Well, more like chaos and tears and an eventual flight to the forest by girl and animal, where they bond despite Queen Elinor new fondness for grubs. has zigged and zagged so often by now that you almost prostrate in your seat waiting to see what happens next. As expected, it unexpected: a poignant connection between the generations, an extremely funny bout of bear charades, and one climactic bear on bear fight that had the 5 year old boy next to me shrieking in terror while his twin sister just sat there digging it. Consumer advisory: I say the movie for ages 6 and up, but you know your kids. At least until they teenagers.
It a genuinely odd film, and odd is not bad in an entertainment landscape of cookie cutter multiplex fare. Yet feels held together by baling wire. It notable as the first Pixar movie to be written and directed primarily by a woman, Brenda Chapman (who based the central story line on her relationship with her own daughter); it also notable for Chapman being fired over differences midway through the project. Mark Andrews and Steve Purcell are listed with Chapman as co directors; all three, plus Irene Mecchi, had a hand in the script. You can sense the conference room arguments pushing the movie this way and that. (And who came up with that title, a generic adjective that barely referenced in the movie itself?)
The animation, of course, is exquisite would you expect anything less? glories in the rugged landscapes of its storybook Scotland, the camera making exultant flyovers and pushing up woodland paths to follow trails of pulsing blue will o past miniature Stoneh replica watches enges. The 3 D is good and the character animation better, especially among the clans, with the head Macintosh a Braveheart wannabe voiced by Craig Ferguson and young MacGuffin muttering incomprehensibly through his giant, bowling ball face. (Someone here has seen Brad Pitt marblemouthed act in and it actor Kevin McKidd.)
The bear animation is spectacular down to the fin replica watches est detail of fur and muscle and talon, and the animals themselves come in sizes too varied to divulge. Yet if ends up in a richly emotional place almost in spite of itself, the strain of stitching it all together shows. We would expect this kind of overstuffed joyride from Dreamworks Animation or the folks at Fox or even Disney itself. But it terribly ordinary for Pixar, and ordinary is no longer enough.