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Blu-ray Review: Pixar’s ‘Brave’ Already Deserves Critical Second Look

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CHICAGO – Disney/Pixar’s “Brave” was largely dismissed by most critics when it was released in theaters this Summer, even if audiences did seem more engaged, pushing the flick to over half-a-billion dollars worldwide and making heroine Merida one of Halloween’s most common costumes. Domestically, the film made more than “WALL-E,” “Ratatouille,” or “Cars 2.” So why did critics let it go so easily?

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-ray rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

I think we’ve reached a point of unnatural expectations for Pixar. If “Brave” didn’t have the brand shared by masterpieces like “Toy Story 3” and “Up” then I think it would have been seen more clearly for what it is — a good-not-great Scottish fairy tale with some storytelling weaknesses but enough quality filmmaking and positive messages to warrant a look. I also think the voice work here from Kelly MacDonald and Emma Thompson was woefully underrated. They’re great. Is “Brave” one of Pixar’s best? No way. But one of Pixar’s lesser films is better than the best of most other studios.

And the Blu-ray from Disney does a good job of reminding those who view it of what works about this film. The featurettes all point to a level of detail in the production that is not always there in children’s entertainment. As with most Disney/Pixar releases, the featurettes were clearly crafted during production and aren’t mere EPK footage used to sell the film. They’re insightful looks into the process. There’s no skimping at all with this release, one that includes more bonus material than almost every Blu-ray of the season. The film, like most computer animation, also feels tailored to HD Blu-ray. It looks gorgeous.

Like most critics, I’m a little nervous about the current stretch of Pixar and hope that they can recapture the glory of what they were doing in the ’00s but I don’t agree that we should point to “Brave” as proof that they’re creatively done. It’s a small dip. And it’s smaller than most critics think.

Brave was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 13, 2012
Brave was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 13, 2012
Photo credit: Disney

Pixar Animation Studios, the creator of Toy Story 3, whisks you away on an astonishing adventure to a land full of mystery and tradition. Bursting with heart, unforgettable characters and Pixar’s signature humor, Brave is “a rousing, gorgeously animated good time,” raves Peter Travers of Rolling Stone.

Take a heroic journey with Merida, a skilled archer and headstrong daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor. Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the unruly and uproarious lords of the land. When Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos in the kingdom, she must harness all of her skills and resources - including her clever and mischievous triplet brothers - to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late, and discover the meaning of true bravery. It’s a legendary Ultimate Collector’s Edition with never-before-seen bonus features!

StarClick here to buy “Brave”

Special Features:
La Luna
The Legend Of Mordu
Brave Old World
Merida & Elinor
Brawl In The Hall
Wonder Moss
Clan Pixar
Once Upon A Scene
Extended Scenes
Audio Commentary
Alternate Opening
Fallen Warriors
Dirty Hairy People
It Is English… Sort Of
The Tapestry
Promotional Pieces
Art Gallery
Digital Copy Included

“Brave” was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 13, 2012.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

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