Well, that was disappointing but nice at the same time. For me Brave was a prime example of expectation being crushed and replaced not by something terrible but
goodokay. From the Trailers and Teasers* I thought Brave would be about Merida going on an adventure in the Highlands and I was quite disappointed for the first half of the movie when this was simply not happening.
I had also forgotten that this is a children’s movie aimed at children (unlike for example Brendan and the Secret of Kells (or most Ghibli movies) where it is clear that this is a children’s movie but it’s so good that you can still watch it at any age without flinching at the stupidity of what’s happening on screen every now and then) and therefore being full of stupid jokes and strange cartoon violence. I also reminded me why I don’t watch 3D-animated movies: the characters all look like puppets (which doesn’t have to be a bad thing, see puppet animation) with 3D-animation they look like plastic puppets and everything just feels unreal to me.
Storywise I really liked the second half of the movie with the bonding between Merida and her mother. I think you can still feel that the story is written by a woman even though she was replaced by a man. Now I’m actually happy that Merida did not go on a journey because then Brave might have just been another stupid hero’s journey (and I’ve had more then enough of that, thank you). The story as it is feels very emotional and I liked that. I also liked her mother becoming a bear and therefore being able to fight the villain where all other (men) failed.
Aside of a few minor matters, like Merida fulfilling a shooting girl trope, though we find out she can she’s able to swordfight even her dad in the end (The Mary Sue has a nice screengrab of that scene) this is a really nice coming of age story.
Now for the main and obvious problem: This is just another shitty movie set in fucking unrealistic Whites only medieval Europe and I hate them for it (then again, this is Hollywood/Disney so I’m not going to pretend that I was expecting anything else). As the author of the second link points out: Brendan had (albeit very minor) PoC-characters in it, so it’s 1:0 for Secret of Kells).
*I also had the feeling I knew movie up until the archery competition because I watched the trailer, which isn’t really a good thing.
Update: The original author, Brenda Chapmen seems pretty cool.