Tomatometer Watch: Brave

Pixar's 13th animated feature.

Brave

78%

Enter the world of Brave and the tale of Merida, a Scottish princess who searches for freedom from cloistered royal life but inadvertently unleashes a curse across the kingdom.

Every new Pixar film endures enormous pre-hype and post-dissection, but Brave (Pixar's 13th) adds a few more talking points for good measure. First, Brave is a fairy tale, a studio first. Second, the movie has had its share of development drama, namely the replacement of Brenda Chapman (also Pixar's first female director) with Mark Andrews. For those keeping score, the same happened with Ratatouille (that's a 96% movie, best-reviewed of 2007) and Cars 2 (38%, not quite enough for 2011's top spot). And speaking of which, the third point: Cars 2 was Pixar's first rotten movie, breaking an unprecedented 17-year Certified Fresh streak.

So what are the critics soothsaying for Brave's future? Can Merida's aim be true enough to lead Pixar to glory?
Brent Simon, Screen International: "Brave's detailed animation work is gorgeous. The increased textures of things like animals or Merida's hair are areas in which animation rendering have been steadily improving over the last half-decade, but the complexity here of some of the movie's clothing, sails and other tapestries is downright remarkable."

Jim Vejvoda, IGN: "While a technical marvel, Brave is ultimately a lesser effort from a studio known for breaking new ground with such modern classics as Up, Toy Story, WALL-E and Finding Nemo. One wonders whether Pixar has moved into a new era where they will (gasp!) make decent, but not great movies."

Peter Debruge, Hollywood Reporter: "The film [becomes] just another fairy tale, and only the youngest of children will be surprised by what follows. Familiar though its elements may be, Brave feels quite different from earlier Pixar films, demonstrating a refreshing versatility in an oeuvre that was starting to look a bit staid, especially as sequels overtook the slate."

Todd McCarthy, Variety: "A film that starts off big and promising but diminishes into a rather wee thing as it chugs along. Not only is the tale laden with standard-issue fairy tale and familiar girl-empowerment tropes, but the entire project lacks the imaginative leaps, unexpected jokes and sense of fun and wonder that habitually set Pixar productions apart from the pack. Its ideas seem earthbound."

The conclusion to draw: The plot is simple and surprising in its lack of surprises, but Brave's pure spectacle -- a Pixar forte, natch -- of pristine visuals and music and memorable characters sound enough to delight most audiences across the globe.

For all the reviews, pictures, and trailers, check out the Brave page on Rotten Tomatoes. Brave is out in theaters next Friday, June 22.

Comments

Joshua

Joshua "LF" Mitchell

Please Pixar, make this another hit!

Jun 13 - 04:43 PM

Brandon Kim

Brandon Kim

Even though it doesn't, I'm still having high expectations that it won't be as bad as Cars 2.

Jun 16 - 03:14 PM

Rebeccachu Elizabeth C.

Rebecca Clark

Please let it be Fresh, please let it be Fresh...


...if not, then Pixar is D-O-O-M-E-D. D:

Jun 13 - 05:18 PM

Marco Chaudry

Marco Chaudry

For just failing on one movie but succeeding on countless others? I beg to differ, they've always been great.

Jun 13 - 05:52 PM

Rebeccachu Elizabeth C.

Rebecca Clark

That's not the case. If Brave gets a "Rotten" on the Tomatometer, then Pixar is doomed. Just to let you know.

Jun 21 - 12:04 PM

Jaxx Raxor

Adam Jones

The reception this film is getting seems quite similar to what Cars got. Amazing animation (which probably uses the 3D well) but paling in comparison to most of Pixar's. Its good that Pixar isn't having another critical misfire like the Cars sequel, but it seems that golden touch the studio used to have is starting to fade away.

Jun 13 - 05:59 PM

IrreducibleKoan

Sean Pak

Like they "faded away" with A Bug's Life? With the first Cars? They will make masterpieces and they will make movies that are merely very good. The latter doesn't mean they're fading.

Jun 13 - 10:21 PM

Jaxx Raxor

Adam Jones

The issue is that they should come back really strong after the embarrassment Cars 2 was to their. Making only a decent movie after the first rotten one is going to cause make a lot of talk on whatever Pixar's days of 95%+ movies are over for the foreseeable future.

Jun 14 - 01:15 PM

IrreducibleKoan

Sean Pak

It might cause simple-minded people to talk. But I can actually look at context and the big picture. If Brave ends up being a good movie, I'll assume Pixar is back, because other than one bomb, they've always made good-to-great movies I'll give them one failure. Even Disney made some mediocre stuff during their '40s Golden Age, only to come back with classics in the '50s.

Jun 14 - 05:32 PM

Brandon Cox

Brandon Cox

You just compared a bug's life to Cars.

You are dead to me.

Jun 16 - 07:15 PM

Ryan Downs

Ryan Downs

"It might cause simple minded people to talk, but I can look at the Big Picture". Well, clearly this debate is over, and we all apologize for dissenting with what is clearly a film genius. You must be very proud of yourself. Of course if I could add, you would be right in keeping in mind that a few failures, hell, even just one failure and one film thats only slightly short of mammoth expectations, would not indicate a ruined company. However, while you're looking at the "big picture", you may want to keep studio politics in mind. For example, Toy Story 3 was a brilliant film in every way, but it wasn't a film Pixar wanted to do; Disney wanted to make it, and Pixar was just imaginiative enough to make the story work, something they were unable to do with Cars 2. Now, they've made a new film thats not quite as good as it should have been. So you had a surprise movie that luckily turned out well, followed by crap, follwed by a slight dissapointment. Its not simple-minded to think that something is amiss, and what it is is merchandise, and Disneys love for it. Theres a reason they made a second Cars, the first one is Disney-Pixars most valuable property in terms of merch. When Up was announced, the stock price actually dropped, because investors didnt see the merchandise opportunity. Now, Disney is more interested in making money than art, and just hoping that Pixar can do both, and it may not be able to forever. And it can't turn down Disney's proposals; Disney now owns Pixar. So, yes, Pixar could come back, but its also likely this will be a trend.

Jun 17 - 01:19 AM

Marco Chaudry

Marco Chaudry

For just failing on one movie but succeeding on countless others? I beg to differ, they've always been great.

Jun 13 - 05:52 PM

Rebeccachu Elizabeth C.

Rebecca Clark

That's not the case. If Brave gets a "Rotten" on the Tomatometer, then Pixar is doomed. Just to let you know.

Jun 21 - 12:04 PM

Jaxx Raxor

Adam Jones

The reception this film is getting seems quite similar to what Cars got. Amazing animation (which probably uses the 3D well) but paling in comparison to most of Pixar's. Its good that Pixar isn't having another critical misfire like the Cars sequel, but it seems that golden touch the studio used to have is starting to fade away.

Jun 13 - 05:59 PM

IrreducibleKoan

Sean Pak

Like they "faded away" with A Bug's Life? With the first Cars? They will make masterpieces and they will make movies that are merely very good. The latter doesn't mean they're fading.

Jun 13 - 10:21 PM

Jaxx Raxor

Adam Jones

The issue is that they should come back really strong after the embarrassment Cars 2 was to their. Making only a decent movie after the first rotten one is going to cause make a lot of talk on whatever Pixar's days of 95%+ movies are over for the foreseeable future.

Jun 14 - 01:15 PM

IrreducibleKoan

Sean Pak

It might cause simple-minded people to talk. But I can actually look at context and the big picture. If Brave ends up being a good movie, I'll assume Pixar is back, because other than one bomb, they've always made good-to-great movies I'll give them one failure. Even Disney made some mediocre stuff during their '40s Golden Age, only to come back with classics in the '50s.

Jun 14 - 05:32 PM

Brandon Cox

Brandon Cox

You just compared a bug's life to Cars.

You are dead to me.

Jun 16 - 07:15 PM

Ryan Downs

Ryan Downs

"It might cause simple minded people to talk, but I can look at the Big Picture". Well, clearly this debate is over, and we all apologize for dissenting with what is clearly a film genius. You must be very proud of yourself. Of course if I could add, you would be right in keeping in mind that a few failures, hell, even just one failure and one film thats only slightly short of mammoth expectations, would not indicate a ruined company. However, while you're looking at the "big picture", you may want to keep studio politics in mind. For example, Toy Story 3 was a brilliant film in every way, but it wasn't a film Pixar wanted to do; Disney wanted to make it, and Pixar was just imaginiative enough to make the story work, something they were unable to do with Cars 2. Now, they've made a new film thats not quite as good as it should have been. So you had a surprise movie that luckily turned out well, followed by crap, follwed by a slight dissapointment. Its not simple-minded to think that something is amiss, and what it is is merchandise, and Disneys love for it. Theres a reason they made a second Cars, the first one is Disney-Pixars most valuable property in terms of merch. When Up was announced, the stock price actually dropped, because investors didnt see the merchandise opportunity. Now, Disney is more interested in making money than art, and just hoping that Pixar can do both, and it may not be able to forever. And it can't turn down Disney's proposals; Disney now owns Pixar. So, yes, Pixar could come back, but its also likely this will be a trend.

Jun 17 - 01:19 AM

Lenny M.

Lenny Monroe

74% I predicted Prometheus at 72% and look at it now. I'm sure this will be the same. The only standout feature of this movie is that it's Pixar's first movie with a female lead character.

Jun 13 - 06:09 PM

Fred Brooks

Fred Brooks

Yeah, you we're right about "Prometheus" finishing in the low 70's on RT, i myself originally thought it would finish in the 80's on RT. I see "Brave" ending between 75%-85% on RT.

Jun 14 - 07:55 PM

Cierra Howell

Cierra Howell

I want to see this movie! but there giving away way to much!

Jun 13 - 06:39 PM

TheAnimatorRator

Megan Gierasch

I was actually looking forward to this movie enough to read a short novelization of the story in a book store that I was meandering about in. The reviews aren't lying. It's very standard fairy tale fodder, but I have a feeling character development may be a stand out.
SPOILER : the "bear" part of the story is a hell of a lot like 'Brother Bear' (another Disney animation) if you ask me, but that similarity remains exclusively toward the beginning. END OF SPOILER

Jun 13 - 11:27 PM

TheAnimatorRator

Megan Gierasch

Brave will likely remain in the 70% - 80% range.

Jun 13 - 11:31 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

The bear portion remind anyone else of The Fox and The Hound? Which I felt was a very bright spot in a slightly down time for Disney the Elder. I've never seen Brother Bear so I can't comment on how it compares to that beyond the obvious Bear connection.

Jun 14 - 01:17 AM

detroit666

Dawn HAvard

Transformation is at the heart of most fairy tales Beauty and the Beast, East of the Sun, etc. etc.

I'm still looking forward to this one. (Well, I'm probably going to have to flip a coin next weekend - heads - A Lincoln - tails - Brave.) A great weekend for movies!

Jun 14 - 06:16 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I was hoping this would be a return to the greatness that preceded Cars 2, but it seems it will merely be good. I guess we have to hold out hope for Monster's University now, right?

Jun 13 - 07:07 PM

Bram S.

Bram Sterling

Oh, I do hope that this will be good!

Jun 13 - 07:31 PM

Robert Willert

Robert Willert

Brave looks absolutely fantastic, and the story and characters seem interesting. Give Pixar another notch on it's belt of greatness.

Jun 13 - 07:44 PM

Cogliostro

Ross Krothe

? seriously? This is DreamWork's How to Train Your Dragon, just rendered in Renderman...

Jun 15 - 10:57 AM

Brian Spiekerman

Brian Spiekerman

You speak of it as if it's a bad thing. Do you not see the big fat 98% on that movie's page?

Jun 15 - 10:19 PM

Brandon Cox

Brandon Cox

Brave has actually been in development long before How To Train Your Dragon.

Jun 16 - 07:16 PM

Laura Ortiz

Laura Ortiz

No, this is how to train your dragon starring me :)

Jun 16 - 09:16 PM

Laura Ortiz

Laura Ortiz

But seriously, it looks like How to Train Your Dragon, but does it remind anyone else of Little Mermaid? Red head making a deal with a witch to change her fate?

Jun 16 - 09:24 PM

Katie Pfeilschiefter

Katie Pfeilschiefter

A similar setting does not make movies similar. Setting, creatures, music, etc. Those aren't what make movies identical. Plot and story is. Brave and How to Train Your Dragon only share the issue of having a character with parent issues.

Jun 17 - 12:01 AM

Andrew Rossi

Andrew Rossi

82%

Jun 13 - 07:45 PM

Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson

this looks like a great movie! i'd be shocked if it turned out to be rotten..... but anything could happen.......

Jun 13 - 07:57 PM

Eric Turano

Eric Turano

dude , i love that movie.....CAR.....:)

Jun 13 - 08:16 PM

Bradley J.

Bradley J

I'm so excited for this movie! Maybe it won't be Pixar's best but I'm sure it will be an improvement from Cars 2. Overall I predict it to land at around an 88%.

Jun 13 - 08:24 PM

KISSman

Tommy D

This is the first Pixar movie that I won't pay to see.

Jun 13 - 08:30 PM

Josh Leitzel

Josh Leitzel

You paid to see Cars 2?

Jun 13 - 10:10 PM

Griffin Hammersmith

Griffin Hammersmith

I predict it will be 91%.

Jun 13 - 08:33 PM

Tyler M.

Tyler M. Mannix

Honestly. Pixar has a is 11 for 12, with only one miss out of 11 other great movies. Even though some people think Cars 1 was Pixar's worst (this was before Cars 2 came out), I have a lot of friends who love Cars 1.

With Brave, I am predicting that it will be great, because it looks impressive, yes, but then again will people think it's just another How To Train Your Dragon (based on looks, not on story)

Jun 13 - 09:04 PM

TheAnimatorRator

Megan Gierasch

But you know, obviously completely different and without Dragons.

Jun 13 - 11:29 PM

Tyler M.

Tyler M. Mannix

Oh yes. But the style is similar. The more naturalistic look, the Scottish accents, the setting similar to Scandanavian setting, complete with the fact that Craig Ferguson is in both movies. But I don't think Pixar will copy Dragon's plot...

Jun 14 - 08:41 AM

TheAnimatorRator

Megan Gierasch

I had no idea that Craig Ferguson was going to be in 'Brave'. That actually kind of makes me laugh.

Jun 14 - 03:24 PM

Laura Ortiz

Laura Ortiz

But in fairness, Brave appears to actually take place in Scotland. Why would there be Vikings with Scottish accents?

Jun 16 - 09:29 PM

Cogliostro

Ross Krothe

That's exactly what they are doing. DreamWorks has long been doing Animation better than Pixar. People just won't give it up. Pixar isn't going to survive having to split Lasseter's time with Disney.

Jun 15 - 10:59 AM

Stephen Lowe

Stephen Lowe

Are you insane? In the past 4 years, Dreamworks has put out Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar 2, Monsters vs. Aliens, How to Train Your Dragon, How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek Forever After, Megamind, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots, and Madagascar. Save for Shrek Forever After, these were all pretty good movies, but the only masterpiece was How to Train Your Dragon (and arguably Kung Fu Panda). Meanwhile, Pixar has put out Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up, Toy Story 3, and Cars 2. Cars 2 may have sucked, but it sure as hell wasn't as bad as Shrek Forever After, and the other 4 are 4 of the greatest movies ever made. In what way has Dreamworks outdone Pixar lately?

Jun 15 - 12:02 PM

Tyler M.

Tyler M. Mannix

Of all those, Puss in Boots and Shrek 4 are the ones that I liked the least. And of the Pixar films, only Cars 2 was a flop. I really don't want Brave to be a flop, for the love of all that is good and holy.

Jun 15 - 01:20 PM

Ryan Downs

Ryan Downs

I see what you mean, but lets take a moment to clarify "flop". A "flop" means a film that doesn't make money, not a film that's bad. Gangs of New York was a flop, Transformers 3 was not. I know it seems like I'm nitpicking, but a point needs to be made very clear: Cars 2, while a dissapointment, made a lot of money, which means Disney, who forced Pixar to make the film, didn't exactly get punished for its decision. Cars 2 didn't make nearly as much as Up did, but it made up for it several times over with merchandise.

Jun 20 - 03:49 PM

Stephen Lowe

Stephen Lowe

Whoops. Scratch that second How to Drain Your Dragon and add a "3" to the end of Madagascar.

Jun 15 - 12:04 PM

Tyler M.

Tyler M. Mannix

He was Exec. Producer of all those films though.

Jun 15 - 10:43 PM

Stephen Lowe

Stephen Lowe

True, but from an artistic standpoint that's not as significant of a role (I agree it's important, just not when considering the movie as a piece of art). His contributions as exec. producer have been important, but he's not the one who made those movies tug at our heartstrings.

Jun 15 - 11:03 PM

Tyler M.

Tyler M. Mannix

I don't think Lasseter's work at Disney and at Pixar is really being a hindrance.

Jun 15 - 01:18 PM

Stephen Lowe

Stephen Lowe

Yeah, and let's not forget that Lasseter didn't really contribute anything to Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, WALL-E, or Up. They can obviously make great movies without him.

Jun 15 - 03:51 PM

Jeremy Lamb

Jeremy Lamb

Pixar also loss brad bird.

Jun 17 - 02:12 AM

Stephen Lowe

Stephen Lowe

Ummm, no they didn't...

Jun 17 - 11:31 AM

Tyler M.

Tyler M. Mannix

Brad's still there. He had a couple of ideas in Toy Story 3. Just because someone has another project not Pixar-related, doesn't necessary mean that they left.

Jun 17 - 12:24 PM

David Maheu

David Maheu

Although I really loved it I think Dreamworks got lucky with HTTYD. Pixar won't be unseated for a long, long time.

Jun 15 - 04:03 PM

Tyler M.

Tyler M. Mannix

I think you're right.

Jun 17 - 12:25 PM

Josh Leitzel

Josh Leitzel

You paid to see Cars 2?

Jun 13 - 10:10 PM

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