Went to see Brave today. Wow. Just...wow.
Your average kid's film is pretty trippy, but this one took the ball and ran with it. I can't even tell you what about it so made me doubt the sanity and safety of letting the Scots abroad on the earth without spoilering it completely. Suffice to say, the movie took a right where you expected a left, and once that happened, all bets were off. It felt altogether dangerous, as if a wild animal had been let loose to prowl in the theater, and you were expected to be mature enough to not freak out.
There you go, that was the part that unsettled me most. The film makers trusted the audience. Disney, bless their hearts, tends to spoon-feed movies to you, thinking you have the mentality of an infant, and presents the viewer with stock characters and situations that require little, if any, thought. This movie expected more of you, asked you to think and feel and make up your own mind about the characters and the situations they were in without any censure or help, and it felt absolutely dangerous for an animated movie, right up to the point where they delivered you safely back to your seat when the lights came up.
I'm happy about it, too, if you must know the truth. It's nice to find a movie that completely upends your expectations in the parking lot and sets them on fire, then roasts some fish, veg and a dessert course of fruit and marshmallow over the conflagration. Like a Cohen Brothers movie, but with a lower body count and the addition of little blobby, glowy will-'o-the-whisps. Everything would be better with the addition of will-'o-the-whisps.
The visuals were transcendentally beautiful, too. I saw it in 3D, but that wasn't necessary -- I imagine it's just as effective and shimmery in standard 2D. The rendering of the film struck me a bit dumb. I went, originally, because I'd read an article that said there were 24 animators working just on the lead character's (Princess Merida) hair, and they'd had to write a software program specially to attach it to her head and tie it to her movements. Since she's one of the few kid's film good guys with curly hair (most curly haired people in children's films are the baddies -- Tangled is a prime example, but there are others, and if I could think properly I'd tell you all about that), I had to go support my curly haired imaginary sistah. And see how well they managed to bring the hair to life. They did an excellent job. They probably needed all 24 of those animators (God knows it feels like my hair has multiple personalities some days, and my hair is merely wavy) to get the hair right, but the other animators weren't taking naps, either. The look supported the story, and made it patently obvious, right from the very beginning, that we were dealing with a land just chockablock full of magic and mystery and pretty.
Money well spent. The animators and the movie ticket. If you have time and can reasonably squeeze the change out of your budget, I highly recommend you go see it.
Just be cautious when you find a line of will-'o-the-whisps light your way. Sometimes, they light you straight into trouble.