I don’t think it’s speaking too far out of school to say Brave is going to have a lot to prove for Pixar, since it’s their first new (franchise starting?) film in a few years. While they’ve got a mostly fantastic track record with even their sequels, it doesn’t change the fact that Cars 2 –be it seen as a cash grab or a Lasseter pet project– is not exactly a feather in their public perception cap. And while there is plenty of vague enthusiasm (and outright pants-shitting from me) about projects like Untilted Pixar Movie About Dinosaurs and Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside The Mind, the response to Brave over the last few years has been… muted? Even the excitement of seeing Pixar hire its first lady director was shit-canned along with Brenda Chapman when she was replaced by Mark Andrews.
From the very first synopsis that promised Pixar’s first princess and fairy tale, all the way up to the not-so-impressive stills from the actual film there hasn’t been that usual feeling of “In Pixar We Trust” floating around. This could all just be my warped perspective, but is anyone really freaking out about stills like this…
If I told you those were from a Dreamworks or Sony animation, would you have called me a liar?
Regardless, a few of those stills above are new and there’s a more detailed synopsis out there (via TheGuardian).
Brave is set in the mystical Scottish Highlands, where Merida is the princess of a kingdom ruled by King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). An unruly daughter and an accomplished archer, Merida one day defies a sacred custom of the land and inadvertently brings turmoil to the kingdom. In an attempt to set things right, Merida seeks out an eccentric old Wise Woman (Julie Walters) and is granted an ill-fated wish. Also figuring into Merida’s quest – and serving as comic relief – are the kingdom’s three lords: the enormous Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), the surly Lord Macintosh (Craig Ferguson), and the disagreeable Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane).
Even without the (ultimately unfair, shallow) How To Train Your Dragon comparisons, it’s tough to muster much enthusiasm for that plot, sight unseen. Perhaps a full trailer will finally bring the interest that has so far been absent, and if not, then come dinosaurs and brain stuff!
By the way, there’s also a picture out there from Small Fry, the Toy Story short that precedes Disney’s The Muppets. I was lucky enough to see the short along with The Muppets at my festival screening, and I can assure you that it is fantastic, and fully lives up to the Toy Story brand. Snappy, funny, and clever in all the ways you would expect, it’s a fun look at the often downtrodden lives of fast food toys, and what happens when one gets a big head.