100 movies: Brave

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100 movies of 2012
Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy!

BraveBrave (19/08/12)

Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery to undo a beastly curse.

It has been years since the last original Pixar film. So expectations were high for Brave. Not just because it’s been years since a non-sequel Pixar film. But also because of last year’s impossibly unnecessary and silly Cars 2. In comes Brave and doesn’t exactly light up the critics and viewers. Though it totally won me over.

So what was it that won me over? I put it down to Pixar magic. Brave is a simple story. I’ve heard a lot of people say it’s a very un-Pixar like film. Though I beg to differ. They all have a simple message at their heart. But it’s a message that’s set in a story that itself is set in such beautiful artwork and animation and cracking voice talent.

Brave had all of this for me. There were two things that really made this film for me. The first thing was the visuals. The film is stunning! Merida’s hair. The Scottish landscapes and castles. They all looked real and not a computer animation. The movements of the animals. Pixar never fails in that respect.

The second was Patrick Doyle’s score. This year’s not been a fantastic one in regards to film scores for me. There have been a handful of good ones and even fewer great ones. Patrick Doyle’s is one of my favourites of the year. It’s totally enchanting and magical. Perfect for the film. It was strong, but not over powering. Supported the film perfectly.

The story itself had me in tears from the beginning. Seriously, I need help! It was predictable. But it wasn’t the bad sort of predictable where I was bored. It was the sort of predictable that I could accept. If that makes sense. Merida, the independent and head-strong young woman wanting to lead her own life and not one that’s been put in front of her by her mother. It’s a story, I reckon, almost everyone can relate to. Despite being in my late 20s, I really related to Merida. I sort of wished I was her. Is that something someone my age should be admitting?

I’ll admit, it’s probably not one of Pixar’s strongest films. But Brave is up there as being one of their best for me. A beautifully told fairytale that I got completely caught up in.

Almost forgot to mention the pre-film short – La Luna. As is tradition, it was stunning. I’ve used beautiful one too many times in this review already, but it’s the only word I can use to describe La Luna too. Very whimsical and plain adorable. Loved the music and the 3 characters. Great little story.
Rating: 5/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

64 Films so far this year

  1. The Tourist 1/5 (02/01/12)
  2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 5/5 (03/01/12)
  3. World’s Greatest Dad 2/5 (14/01/12)
  4. Haywire 3/5 (19/01/12)
  5. Dead Snow 3/5 (20/01/12)
  6. The Artist 5/5 (21/01/12)
  7. Priest 2/5 (05/02/12)
  8. The Muppets 5/5 (15/02/12)
  9. Faster 4/5 (19/02/12)
  10. Chronicle 4/5 (22/02/12)
  11. Safe House 4/5 (24/02/12)
  12. Reservoir Dogs 4/5 (25/02/12)
  13. This Means War 4/5 (02/03/12)
  14. The Royal Tenenbaums 3/5 (03/03/12)
  15. Reign of Fire 3/5 (04/03/12)
  16. Dear John 2/5 (04/03/12)
  17. Road to Perdition 5/5 (05/03/12)
  18. The Three Musketeers 3/5 (06/03/12)
  19. The Eagle 2/5 (10/03/12)
  20. Everybody’s Fine 2/5 (14/03/12)
  21. Frankenstein 4/5 (15/03/12)
  22. Love and Other Drugs 2/5 (15/03/12)
  23. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger 2/5 (17/03/12)
  24. The Big Lebowski 5/5 (18/03/12)
  25. The Hunger Games 3/5 (23/03/12)
  26. Headhunters 4/5 (07/04/12)
  27. Super 1/5 (07/04/12)
  28. The Cabin in the Woods 5/5 (13/04/12)
  29. Watchmen 4/5 (14/04/12)
  30. The Hurt Locker 3/5 (21/04/12)
  31. Avengers Assemble 5/5 (26/04/12)
  32. 22 Bullets 2/5 (28/04/12)
  33. Bad Teacher 1/5 (29/04/12)
  34. Red Riding Hood 1/5 (04/05/12)
  35. A Perfect Getaway 4/5 (05/05/12)
  36. Ca$h 1/5 (13/05/12)
  37. Kung Fu Panda 2 3/5 (14/05/12)
  38. Everything Must Go 2/5 (24/05/12)
  39. New York, I Love You 2/5 (25/05/12)
  40. Beginners 4/5 (26/05/12)
  41. Prometheus 4/5 (03/06/12)
  42. The Tree of Life 2/5 (04/06/12)
  43. The Lovely Bones 3/5 (05/06/12)
  44. Snow White and the Huntsman 3/5 (06/06/12)
  45. The Devil’s Backbone 4/5 (07/06/12)
  46. Britain in a Day 5/5 (11/06/12)
  47. The French Connection 4/5 (15/06/12)
  48. Insomnia 3/5 (16/06/12)
  49. Rebel Without a Cause 4/5 (22/06/12)
  50. A Lonely Place to Die 3/5 (26/06/12)
  51. Killer Joe 3/5 (29/06/12)
  52. The Amazing Spider-Man 4/5 (03/07/12)
  53. Raising Arizona 4/5 (04/07/12)
  54. Horrible Bosses 4/5 (06/07/12)
  55. Broadcast News 3/5 (07/07/12)
  56. We Need to Talk About Kevin 4/5 (07/07/12)
  57. Miller’s Crossing 4/5 (18/07/12)
  58. The Dark Knight Rises 5/5 (20/07/12)
  59. 21 Jump Street 5/5 (29/07/12)
  60. The Mystery Team 3/5 (07/08/12)
  61. The Help 4/5 (11/08/12)
  62. The Bourne Legacy 3/5 (13/08/12)
  63. The Expendables 2 4/5 (17/08/12)
  64. Brave 5/5 (19/08/12)


    • Do! If you enjoy Pixar, this one’s a great one. But if you’re a cryer like me, remember your tissues!

  1. Ok, I’ve got to see “Brave”. I mentioned to someone else that I’m always late to animated pictures but there have been so many good comments! Nice review Jaina!

    • I’m sometimes a bit late to them too, but Brave’s been in my sights for a while. And it was definitely worth it.

  2. YAY, a full score!! Now that I think of it, I could’ve easily given it a 5/5 too, I just love it so much!! Pixar magic is right Jaina, visually it’s breathtaking and they’ve created such wonderful characters, not just Merida but her whole family, too! Patrick Doyle’s music is just superb, he’s now become my fave composer right along w/ Hans Zimmer and John Williams. Oh and yeah, La Luna is pure charm!!

    • You’re right – the whole family were excellent. No matter how animated, they felt very real and relatable for me.

      There’s something about Scottish themed animation flicks that I just can’t help but love. How to Train Your Dragon was a brilliant one too.

      Patrick Doyle is definitely one of my favourite too. Between Much Ado About Nothing, last year’s Thor and Rise of the Planet of the Apes and now Brave? Amazing!! I only wish they’d gotten him to score Avengers.

      • Oooh I LOVE ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ too, that’s the one sequel I’m actually looking forward to. Yeah, Doyle’s body of work astounds me. The Avengers’ score would’ve been more memorable if he had done it.

  3. Wow. I think you’re a little too kind to this movie! 5/5 for a film that, according to you, was “predictable” and “probably not one of Pixar’s strongest films.”

    are you giving it a perfect score solely because it is PIXAR? or because of Merida’s hair? hmmm. 🙂

    on the real, I am glad you enjoyed it. I’d been waiting for you to see it. You liked it more than I did (I wasn’t feeling the whole “Shrek” business.), but it was better than Cars 2 at least!

    and I guess I just wasn’t impressed overall, because I am in the minority by not being entranced by the boring Pixar short that came before it. ha.

    • It’s not a bias against Pixar. I did just really, really enjoy this film. It captured my imagination from the beginning and I was completely taken away to ancient Scotland. Like I said, yes I found it predictable, in that I could see where it was going. But I didn’t hate that. I didn’t roll my eyes and wish it had gone in a different direction. It suited the film to go the way it did.

      Maybe it’s something about Scottish-ish animated films – How to Train Your Dragon was another one that was Scottish-ish and just a stunning bit of animation and story.

  4. I still haven’t seen it but I’m going to do so this week, love the score – along with Moonrise Kingdom and TDKR it’s my favorite score of the year so far. Glad you liked the movie so much, I’ll probably be in tears too I have very low tolerance for moving films and I always weep 🙂

  5. Great review Jaina. This film really pissed me off in the middle because it had potential to rank among the other greats from Pixar, but just totally dropped the ball. Oh well, at least it looked pretty.

    • I do appreciate that it could have been better. But it swept me away regardless!

      Looked and sounded amazing.

  6. Wow, 5/5! I woulda said Brave wasn’t on my “watch list” because I knew it would be predictable. I can totally believe that the scenery/animation were amazing! But as always, you perk my interests in films I would have otherwise not seen. Thanks!

    • It’s not one of Pixar’s best. But it’s still a stunning bit of animation.

      Pixar’s bar is so high – their top films are modern classics. While Brave’s not quite up there it is SO worth your time.

  7. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Pixar. But I truly disliked Brave. I gave it a “C-“, roughly a 2/5 on your scale. I sat in the theater bored almost to sleep. I was sighing intermittently waiting for it to be over and someone thought I was actually snoring. A few bright spots here and there, but it’s certainly no Toy Story or Finding Nemo.


    • Really? I was just swept away with the charm of it all! Something about the Scottish myths and legends that really work for me.

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