So, once again months behind everyone else, I finally had a chance to see the other movie from this summer that I was interested in, Pixar's latest offering. I had heard that a lot of reviews for it were just average/mediocre, and the fact that they switched directors in the middle didn't fill me with confidence, but I was going to try and go in with a positive attitude and see how much I enjoyed it for myself.
Summary: Merdia is the only daughter and oldest child and since her father is a king this means that she has to marry the son of one of the other chieftains in order to help keep the piece. Merdia feels overwhelmed and unhappy that she has to get married at such a young age and is frustrated by how her mother is going along with all of this and just wants to get her on her side to help. So when offered a chance to change her fate she takes it, although of course changing fate is never that easy and she soon has even more problems to worry about.
The Good: It's nice to see Pixar branch out more and have another movie about an actual human (I know that Up and The Incredibles were about people as well but I can't think of any other movies off the top of my head) and it was nice to see them do a period piece as well. Honestly I keep thinking of this movie and Tangled as if they were sisters, Pixar takes a bit of a Disney-esque plot and Disney takes Pixar's art style, at this point it's really hard to tell where one part of that big company ends and the other begins.
The Bad: I shall be blunt, I didn't like this film. I felt like it was trying too hard to force humor in (when usually a Pixar film has funny events happen in a more natural way, I've seen this kind of parent-child conflict in stories before and have seen it better, Merida and her mother's relationship was just so cliched that I stopped taking it seriously partway through. As others have pointed out, Disney has actually done practically the exact same plot years ago in another film (which I only saw parts of and didn't think was that great either) and, in a more minor nitpick, I really didn't like the witch at all. Sometimes you can pull off having a character in a historical(ish) setting making more modern references and it can be funny but it didn't work at all here, again it felt like Pixar was trying too hard to force the humor and I really wonder if that humor was in the script from the beginning or if it happened after the director change.
The Audio: While it's not uncommon to have insert songs in a Disney film (or really any film) I thought this movie was spamming them with three or four in 90 minutes (the first one came really early as well and made me think of something weird and amusing but I can't remember what, I just remember thinking that it was reminding me of something totally unlike Brave which was a bad thing). Voice acting was fine, I think just about every actor was from inside the UK, quite a few from Scotland itself. The movie certainly had nice production values, just not the story to match it.
The Visuals: One thing I did whole-heartedly like was how this movie looked, the characters look realistic enough that they don't seem strange (like saw the people in the first Toy Story movie, man they were kinda creepy) but are still cartoony, it's a hard balance to strike but it works well here. There was obviously a ton of effort that went into each scene and yeah, it looked really great and as always I wonder how much better Pixar can get since it always seems like they've reached their peak and then they astound us again.
So yeah, did not like this film at all and I'm rather disappointed, they had an idea which (while not groundbreaking) they could've done something nice with and instead it felt like they made a movie because they had to make a movie. Fingers crossed that Wreck-It Ralph turns out much better, or that some of the new Dreamworks films turn out well also.