At the most recent Academy Awards, the one award that stuck out the most to me was Best Animated Feature Film. Going into the awards, I was certain that either “Wreck-It Ralph” or “Paranorman” was going to win that award. Much to my surprise, it was given to Pixar’s “Brave”.
The reason this award strikes me as so odd is rather simple: That award deserves to go to the best, most well made animated film of that year, and I do not think “Brave” was that movie.
First off, “Brave” is an alright movie. It looks beautiful and the film manages to capture the best of Scotland. The relationship between the main character and her mother is one of the better relationships between family members that I’ve seen in quite a while, managing to capture both the love and hate that comes with a family. Both of these are highlights of the film for me.
However, the immediate downside to the film is the story and mostly how it feels like I’ve seen it hundreds of times before and that it doesn’t try anything new. It’s the story of how a girl hates her life, makes a wish to change it, things go bad and she ultimately realizes her mistakes, that her life wasn’t really that bad and then there’s a struggle to fix it. It’s a classic Disney story, similar to films like “The Little Mermaid.”
I wouldn’t have a problem with the story if they actually tried to do something new and creative with its unoriginal story idea. The problem is that it doesn’t really try. It feels just like any other Disney princess movie, except that now it’s in Scotland. It would be like if you combined “How to Train Your Dragon” with “Brother Bear.”
To me, “Brave” screams an okay movie. It’s certainly not bad, but there are problems that hold it back. And it certainly doesn’t deserve the best animated feature film Oscar.
Why? Because I found that “Wreck-It Ralph” was, overall, a more well-put together movie. “Wreck-It Ralph” had some of the most imagination and creativity I’ve seen from any movie in a long time. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a film quite like “Wreck-It Ralph” in terms of taking its environment and using everything that you could possibly imagine with it. I walked out of “Wreck-It Ralph” with a huge smile on my face, because this film brought the kid in me. It reminded me of a time where I would try to make creative situations out of the toys at my disposal and just to use my imagination to come up with the fun moments I would have as a kid. “Wreck-It Ralph” does this so many times with its video game environments that it’s hard not to crack a smile at the Diet Coke and Mentos Mountain of doom or the Oreo guards.
Whereas, when I walked out of “Brave,” my thoughts were of how I certainly enjoyed myself, but I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about what I just saw. To me, this speaks volumes of how much better “Wreck-It Ralph” is over “Brave”. What you take away from the film is one of the most important aspects of analyzing a film. When you’re doing watching it, how do you feel? What emotions does this conjure up for you? Good emotions or bad emotions? Did it stir up any emotions at all?
I’ve also heard fantastic things about “Paranorman,” but haven’t seen it myself. I’ve made it a policy to no judge a film I haven’t seen, so I have no opinion on “Paranorman.” All I know is that lots of people loved it and how it was able to celebrate and satirize horror films all at the same time.
But here’s my point: While “Brave” was more of the classic story that most people would expect from Disney and animated films in general, “Wreck-It Ralph” knew that it was an animated film and took advantage of that to its fullest potential. The film did everything it could with its video game feel and environments. That’s enough for me to say that “Wreck-It Ralph” was a better film than “Brave.”