Thursday, May 31, 2012

"Timid" would be a far more appropriate title.

Pixar Studios
Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd
Pixar, you dunce, you coward, you spineless know-it-all know-nothing, you've really done it this time. It's amazing just how much this studio is full of itself and how convinced it is of its own supposed brilliance. Every time they release a new piece, they just get stupider and stupider. And now with Brave, even I'm surprised by how lowly they've gotten.

People who check out my page already know that I rip Pixar to shreds on a regular basis, and not just because of their previously-mentioned theft of my own work either, but this particular project really stinks, its stench so wretched with even more unoriginality than usual that it actually manages to make their previous trash look brilliant by comparison. For a movie called "brave", Brave isn't brave at all; in fact, it may very well be their most coldly and commercially calculated product to date. All calculation and no heart as usual, Pixar has their stubborn formulas even more firmly rooted than ever.

Don't be fooled by all of those trailers trying to make it look like this is about a bold princess archer trying to beat the bad guys in a tournament with a scene that hints at her whupping their collective villain butts in battles to come (as the oh-so-clever advertising so evilly wants you to believe). The story is anything but. And, as is the norm for Pixar, it rips off more sources carefully picked to appeal than your average Britney Spears album.

It involves a Scottish princess named Merida (Kelly Macdonald) who's one of those, ahem, newfangled princesses who's an annoyance to their parents, the well-meaning Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) in particular, by refusing to want to be what a traditional princess is supposed to be like in their eyes and instead would much rather be out riding around, practicing her archery and the like. Gee, we haven't seen this kind of character before, now, have we?

Anyway, after mention of a legend about a prince (of course), a tournament is held for all those who wish to compete for her hand in marriage and, you guessed it, only certain types are allowed to participate who measure up to the King and Queen's personal traditional standards and, again you guessed it, they're all as ugly and unappealing as sin. One of them lucks out and manages to hit the bullseye, but because she doesn't want to marry the poor sap she announces that she will then compete for her "own hand" to get out of the deal, fires an arrow and perfectly splits the winner's own. Disney's animated Robin Hood, anyone? And even in Matrix-style slow motion, yet. Snore.

Her mother is pissed, of course, so off goes annoyed Merida into the forest where she eventually runs into some old witch -- you know, the type who always seems to be conveniently on hand for movies like this -- who whips up a little something to change Merida's mother around. And does it ever: after eating it, it turns The Queen Mum into a bear, the King discovers and, instead of puzzling over the fact that a bear has mysteriously appeared in the castle and wanting to investigate the situation intelligently, especially since his own daughter seems to have a very apparently guilty hand in the situation somehow and obviously may be responsible, immediately and stupidly declares on impulse instead that this is a good excuse to practice his hunting skills as he just loooooves to hunt bears, Merida and Mama Bear escape off into the forest, and from that point on the whole thing begins ripping off all sorts of ideas straight out of Brother Bear for the rest of the movie just for extra good measure, trying hard to only hit what Pixar felt were the "appealing" parts of that earlier effort.

Blah blah blah, Merida helps her mother catch fish and eat properly in the wild, blah blah blah, witch has completely disappeared without even leaving behind a proper name, much less her forwarding address, phone number or even her email for that matter, simply vanishing because, again, she's the type of witch who's always called on to pull such stunts in a movie like this, blah blah blah, gotta break the spell somehow, blah blah blah, thrashing about in the wood, blah blah blah blah blah. Does it go without saying that the family triplets also got into the same Witch's Junk Food prepared for Mama Bear and all become bears themselves, and for pret-ty much no reason whatsoever other than the fact that the resulting toys should be extremely marketable? And what about that previously-mentioned prince? Think we'll ever run into him? Or, to be more precise, what happened AFTER he got himself into trouble? And boy is he ever pissed.

Notice how the mom doesn't become something truly horrendous, like an ogre -- which, come to think of it, Shrek already beat to death far into the ground already -- but instead something cute and loveable and sooo TOTally marketable. Every single little move programmed and toy-ready to the max. And, again of course, you just KNOW that in the process of all this gruel Merida is gonna realize that she's never gonna have probs with her mother again, she's grateful for her and loves her just as she is after the inevitable happy ending. Thoughts to live by. And good for the kiddies, and especially the PC movie watchdogs who scare modern studios to pieces, to hear. How very challenging for the audiences of today.

What swill.

And the biggest insult? Talk about that Pixar high horse: their "big achievement" here that they keep blathering on about is how this is their first movie with a female lead. Ooooh, big deal. Like that hasn't been done before either... I wouldn't make such a big stink about it if it weren't for the fact that they trumpet that fact as though it's groundbreaking genius! As though they thought up the whole notion of doing such a thing in the first place! What sort of vacuum do those idiots live in, anyway?! THIS is "genius"?? And a princess, too... gosh... no marketing intentions there either, I suppose?

What a cowardly movie. Even after all these years, Pixar still refuses to do anything even slightly different, imaginative or challenging. Pathetic. And, sadly, I'm sure it will also most likely do very well.