After Cars 2 and the middling but still enjoyable Brave, Pixar has proven it's no longer the immortal dynamo it seemed to be for its first decade and a half of feature film production. The studio has fallen to earth, and seems more interested in grinding out a film a year rather than strictly releasing animated perfection.
The result of this outing is an entertaining family film with an idiotic plot and horrible yet still somehow likable protagonist who spends most of the running time fixing a terrible, irresponsible decision she makes early on. Forget that the title makes no sense, because bravery isn't apparent in any of the personality attributes expressed by Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald), who refuses an arranged marriage that her parents tell her is necessary to preserve peace throughout factions they're associated with.
If the movie has anything that kids can can away, it's that whining and stubbornly sticking to your own self-absorbed opinions no matter what will pay off. Eventually your parents will fear you, and you'll always get your way. Not exactly a positive lesson, but frighteningly truthful.
The movie is beautiful and exciting, and nothing less should be expected from such cinematic wizards. When Merida befriends an anthropomorphic bear, whose identity I won't spoil in the off chance you haven't watched a trailer or read an article about the movie, the screenplay has a lot of fun with the comical cross-species interplay.
At the end of the day, you're left with 90 minutes or so burned in favor of heedless, forgettable fun. Faint praise is all that this movie is worth, but that's much more than you could say about Cars 2.
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