I had high hopes for Brave. After all, it’s Pixar, and the last Pixar movie I saw was Up, and I both laughed and cried multiple times and generally uphold it as a work of genius.

Brave is a new take on the princess tale. Merida is a certified badass who will have no parts of an arranged marriage her mother insists on because it’s tradition and whatnot. I’m on Team Merida here. Arranged marriages are silly, especially when your protagonist is a teenager with a free spirit. Free spirits need patient men, by the way, so thrusting that upon some poor soul is probably a bad idea.

I’ve always liked seeing girls kick ass rather than sit around, mope, and do all those girly things society and pop culture have traditionally had women do. Merida decides to take control of her fate, as we all should. The problem is things go terribly awry.

Aside from the ballsy princess, Brave was not at all what I was expecting, to the extent that I can’t even tell you because it will actually spoil the movie. Minor possible spoiler alert–there’s some Freaky Friday shit going on here. In that sense, Brave borrows from tales before, but so did Up. Like Up, though, the storyline holds up and the writing is tight.

It’s also really funny. While it’s more heartwarming and kind of action-packed than anything, the king and the mischievous three little princes are hilarious. I found them so funny that I’m probably alone on this one. Brave has charm, too, and does a lot really well, even if at first things seem like they’re getting silly.

That said, it’s still not the masterpiece that Up was. Similarly, short preceding film La Luna is super cute, but Up’s short, Partly Cloudy, actually makes me cry. Up just fills me with feelings. I can’t help it.


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