Trailer for Pixar's "Brave"

Pixar has posted the trailer for its next feature, "Brave," which opens in June 2012. I had a bit of a meh reaction to this, though I can't put my finger on why, precisely. I'm generally very fond of Pixar movies, for what it's worth (though "Cars" left me cold, and I never seemed to be able to enjoy "Wall-E" as much as other people). In any event, I'm sure I'll be seeing this, if only to bring Poesy out to a movie, something we both love.

Brave Trailer


  1. Um, Kelly McDonald + Billy Connelly + Craig Ferguson +Robbie Coltrane.  This is pure, unadulterated win.  I’d watch it with the picture turned off just to hear their dulcet voices.

  2. I think the reason Cars never clicked for me is because the fact that they’re cars doesn’t have any impact on the story. You could tell the same story with humans, without having to really change any aspect of the plot (unlike, say, Toy Story, Monsters Inc or  Finding Nemo*).

    I thought WALL-E was great until they got to the Axiom, then it turned into any slapstick kids movie you care to mention.

    *Finding Nemo with people would essentially be Taken, I suppose.

    1.  Ok, I’d like to see Finding Nemo with all of Albert Brooks’ lines redubbed with Liam Neeson’s lines from his action movies.

    2. Cars with people (and without the race scenes) would be Doc Hollywood:

      *Hotshot professional is very successful, but on the eve of a big accomplishment is reminded that he has no real friends
      *He travels cross country to a big career opportunity in a montage showing rural America
      *He gets pulled over in a small town
      *Local judge sentences him to community service since his skills are needed in the town
      *Initially, despite his hot-shot status, the main character messes up while performing community service
      *The main character is mentored by an elderly resident who has the same career but is retired/retiring
      *The main character befriends the local cafe owner, proprietor of a car repair shop, a dimwitted redneck, and a local girl who is a law student/former lawyer
      *The main character falls in love with local girl in a scene showing her passing by in slow motion
      *The main character finishes his community service, and the town gratefully lets him go on to his career opportunity
      *His big career opportunity isn’t going well, until he gets unexpected help from the small-town elderly mentor
      *Main character turns down glamorous business opportunity, preferring to embrace small-town family values.
      *Main character moves to small town and begins a relationship with the local girl.

  3. I’ll watch it just to see the rendering of all that red hair and to hear Kelly McDonald’s voice for 90 mins.
    And how could anyone not love WALL-E?
    Cory, I’m worried about your mortal soul….

  4. I felt the same way about Cars, though I liked Wall-E quite a bit. My favorite Pixar movie would have to be the first 20 minutes of Up. I felt more emotion from that first part than most movies I’ve watched.

    1. Sometimes I like my pathos delivered with something a little more subtle than a sledgehammer.  The beginning of Up really turned me off.

      Still for good simple stories I love Pixar.  For a favorite I’d go with The Incredibles.

      1. Somebody actually favorated The Incredibles? Well, okay, it did have Sarah Vowell doing voice acting, so that was nice, but its quasi-Objectivist moral that “nobody is special if everybody is special” is just obnoxious.

        1. I don’t think that was the moral. I thought the moral was that you had to embrace what makes you special, even if it means doing so in a non-public way. That is: super-heroes are still super, even if they can’t shine in the limelight. The main difference between the heroes and the villain in The Incredibles was that the villain couldn’t stand not being *recognized* as being special/heroic. And so he went to great lengths to endanger people in order to then publicly save them.

          To me, it was a movie about the inherent difference between being a hero and being heroic.

          Oh, and about the fantastic costumes.

  5. Meh too. In this case the ‘meh’ is triggered by the proportions in the mix here: too much Disney, not enough Pixar.

  6. Sometimes it seems like they are just making sure they have a movie to market and are fulfilling a distribution contract to Buena Vista. Could be surprised though. They’ve won me over before.

  7. My initial reaction was kinda meh too. Although I will say that it is very cool to see a female hero that is strong willed, seems somewhat intelligent without being  a  prissy Disney princess.   I think my meh factor comes from not being entirely clear on what the story is about, beyond her fighting a mythical beast bear, gaining her freedom to get out of a percieved arranged marriage. For the record, I thought Wall-E was full of epic win. Not on the same level as Up, but still a really good flick.

    1. Agree about the strong girl impulse. As I was saying to a mate at lunch today, re: getting the right ideas in thru’  stories, any dad who doesn’t buy his daughter a copy of The Paper Bag Princess, stat,  is just doing it wrong…

    2. My initial reaction was kinda meh too. Although I will say that it is very cool to see a female hero that is strong willed, seems somewhat intelligent without being  a  prissy Disney princess.

      I think my own ‘meh’ feeling comes from the fact that, like Disney usually does, this story seems to go out of its way to make its princess non-prissy, smart and strong-willed (I don’t think Belle, Ariel or Tiana really qualified as ‘prissy’ did they? They all seemed pretty ‘spunky’ to me…). How about not making the girl royalty at all, for a change? And how about no discussions of marriage at all (arranged, willing or otherwise)?

      What I DO find encouraging is that there doesn’t seem to be any smarmy, player-type dude with gigantic teeth hitting on the princess. If Pixar truly left out that obnoxious recurring character, and if the girl does NOT fall in love by the end of the movie, I think they deserve an Oscar just for that.

    3. i am a little torn by the trailer. on the one hand, women and girls being presented as having the strength to self-actualize is nice. on the other hand, i wonder if presenting that as being at variance with the norms of their culture seems to be sending the message “don’t seek yourself unless you’re willing to be a bad-ass athletic killer.”

      it strikes me as derivative of the whole let’s represent feminism through personal armament bullshit that hollywood has blessed since the 90s (by contrast with, say 9:00 to 5:00, which, while made in the 80s, wouldn’t be made in hollywood this decade or last).

  8. I loved Wall-E, but many of my friends were divided on it, so I can see where Cory’s coming from.

    Hated Cars. Didn’t even bother with  Cars 2.

    I’m excited about this, OK, I admit, because: 1) Pixar’s first female heroine-star (and long overdue) and 2) All that red hair just looks so damn cool when it moves.

  9. I wish they’d de-smooth the human faces three notches.  Perhaps it’s all for toyetic , but the landscapes are so nice and the people look so damn plastic

  10. I had a meh too.  Maybe it was the accented voices and old European setting, but this reminded me of How to Train Your Dragon – minus the really cool dragons.

  11. Cory:  I had a bit of a meh reaction to this, though I can’t put my finger on why, precisely.

    Methinks you’re developping a sense of good taste.

    That, and my ongoing campaign to convince you that Disney is Evil…

  12. Seems to be “Mulan” meets “How to Train Your Dragon”. Whilst I enjoyed both of those movies, this one seems a little predictable. “The Incredibles” is my favourite Pixar, but I like them all.

  13. I have to disagree, Cory.  Vehemently.  I can’t wait for this film.  The trailer made me squee like a little girl.  It’s like Pixar read my mind and made a movie just for me.  The voice cast!  The animation!  The music is even by Patrick Doyle.

    Dude.  I can’t wait.

  14. I always go to Miyazaki if I want female heroines with any sort of nuance. That being said, I love Pixar movies and can’t wait to see this.

  15. I didn’t see Finding Nemo in theatres because the trailer didn’t do anything for me. “It looks predictable. Fish!? Who cares? Pixar has lost it.” I’m an idiot. That movie was fantastic and I wish I had seen it on the big screen. 

    Monsters Inc. didn’t look thrilling to me either. The teaser trailer was funny, but the first theatrical trailer left me cold. But I learned my lesson from Nemo and went to see it anyway. Didn’t regret it.

    The Incredibles looked wierd. Again, the initial trailers didn’t really sell me on the movie’s concept. But I went anyway, and it was great.

    Cars had a pretty good trailer. It was a great disappointment. I was checking my watch throughout most of the movie.

    Wall-E’s trailers didn’t do much for me. They didn’t communicate the scale of the story very well. I liked Wall-E. It wasn’t the best Pixar movie, but it was far from the worst. I enjoyed it more than Bug’s Life (which I still can’t sit through all the way. Once was enough).

    Toy Story 3 sounded like a bad idea from the start. Another one!? Really? Come on. This is just Disney forcing Pixar to milk a franchise (which is what Toy Story 2 definitely felt like). The trailers really didn’t do anything for me at all. I didn’t want to go see it, but my friends dragged me to it and it was really good. I’m glad I went.

    Bottom line is this: One trailer does not indicate the quality of a movie. Pixar’s trailers, in particular, seem to be pretty misleading (probably because they try so hard to avoid spoiling the story). What is presented as a standard, predictable story about <whatever it is this time> usually turns out to be something creative, enjoyably fun and unexpected. And the one trailer I did like, turned out to be the most boring Pixar movie I’ve ever seen. (I didn’t bother with Cars 2. Have no plans to.)

  16. Movies about girls overcoming the ‘handicap’ of being female are overdone, and ridiculous. 

    Brenda Chapman leaving, (or being fired?) as the director is another unsettling reminder that the entertainment industry is still a boys club.

    The amount of slapstick and cheesy jokes in the trailer might be causing the ‘meh’ reaction you’re feeling. Past Pixar films elevated themselves to art, Wall-e had no dialogue the first half of the movie  and Up explored the emotions of life after love.

    And I’ll probably be stoned for this next statement, but Kung Fu Panda II had better art direction than this movie. What’s going on Pixar.
    Hopefully this is just the case of a terrible trailer, but my hopes have been deflated for this movie.

  17. That was just too weird. I kept wondering why Margaret was suddenly inside the body of a redheaded viking(?) girl instead of wheeling and dealing with Steve Buscemi in Prohibition era Atlantic City. 

  18. Wall-e was genius. There is practically no dialog through the first half of the film, and yet it conveys so much about the characters that it is engaging to both young and old.

    I think Brave looks like it should be good. She doesn’t seem to be your average Disney princess.

  19. I’m with some of the previous comments. I’d prefer a movie where instead the girl overcoming being a girl or succeeds despite being a girl, she is just herself and overcomes whatever the plot requires. Miyazaki is very good example of this and it’s why my girls have been raised on a steady diet of his movies.

    So while I’m excited for a new Pixar movie, I have trepidations about how much Disney has leaked in.

  20. Wow, it’s like some people like films that other people don’t like… Or something. You’re blowing my mind.

    And of course, it’s perfectly fair and reasonable to judge an entire film that hundreds of people slaved over for several years on the basis of a 2 minute trailer designed to market the film to as wide an audience as possible.


    1. To be fair, a consequence of releasing a trailer 7 months before the movie (and teaser trailers/concept art years ahead) is that people will discuss it.

      It’s a good thing. Even our whiny criticism is a part of building up the hype.

  21. As a Scot, I also feel this will be meh.

    This is like the Hollywood version of those people who say they’re “a quarter Scottish” and “You’re from Scotland! Do you know my second cousin Douglas?”.

    I am going to start referring to it as Scottish Myth: The Animated Tales.

    1. How does your being Scottish make you better qualified, or even significantly differently qualified, to judge the film? The world this film portrays has as little to do with modern Scotland as The Lion King had to do with modern Africa.

    2. I am going to start referring to it as Scottish Myth: The Animated Tales.

      A mythical setting for an animated fantasy movie set in medieval times? Heresy! Why can’t they stick to more accurate portrayals of other cultures, like how France was depicted in Beauty and the Beast or how Arab culture was showcased in Aladdin?

  22. How about that “meh” feeling because I still don’t know what it is about?

    Sure it has a strong princess and a monster of some type all set in a medieval time, but what is going on here?  There is some contest and then she is on some type of adventure?  Is she going to protect the town from the monster or to slay it to prove her strength? 

    The trailer feels like I’m watching a badly jointed highlight reel instead of a decent synopsis of the actual movie.

  23. I was a little ambivalent on this trailer too, but I’m still pretty jazzed to see Brave. The trailer for Ratatouille made me retch, but upon going to see it in theatres on a cheap night I found it fit in perfectly with my other Pixar favourites. So, I’m betting (hoping?) that whoever cut the trailer boiled it down to its simplest, catchiest, and most mass-marketable elements.

  24. Where the trailer mucks up is around 1:40, when the music is swelling to dramatic levels while we look at a guy doing the old “what does a Scotsman wear under his kilt” slapstick routine.

  25. I think it looks and “feels” amazing and the trailer definitely suggests it has potential.

    I am disappointed that the heroine is surrounded by the usual ineffectual male fair and those males that do feature some reasonable effectiveness are seemingly buffoons.

  26. I’ll have to wait until evening to watch the video.

    Wall-E is a mix of The Velveteen Robot and utterly brutal SF satire ala Kornbluth or Sheckley. The ending credit sequence had me openly sobbing when I watched it on DVD, out of relief and the suggestion that humanity could maybe not blow its second chance.

    Toy Story 3 was fun but kind of routine; what made it extraordinary was the Almost Ending, and the actual ending, which was magisterial; it managed to be a surprise and seem utterly inevitable.

  27. What’s unclear is the moment when the protagonist (whose name is only said once, and unintelligibly, despite Emma Thompson’s obvious skill) makes the choice to take up the hero’s journey. There’s a lot of yearning for freedom, and some archery, but not single moment where the protagonist sets a definite goal or objective, like “I want to become a Jedi like my father,” or even “I wanna dance, I wanna win, I want that trophy.” Based on the trailer, it seems like there’s another princess in the story who’s choosing a champion (possibly to wed), and the female protagonist is actually the best choice because she wins all the competitions. This would be an interesting story in itself — one girl’s strength and agency enabling another’s. It was certainly interesting when Revolutionary Girl Utena did it, fourteen years ago. I’d like to see Pixar’s take on that story.

    But that’s not the story that the Wikipedia entry describes. Apparently the protagonist “defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land” and her “actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom” leaving her to “undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.” Huh? Where was all that, in the trailer? What age-old custom? What beastly curse? How does she break it? How do we know when” it’s too late”? What happens if she fails? What are the stakes?

    It’s not a bad trailer because any particular sensory element in it is lacking in quality. It’s a bad trailer because it lacks any sense of narrative motion.

  28. Maybe Pixar could catch back up to the other studios by starting to treat their workers a little less like shit.

    1. Maybe Pixar could catch back up to the other studios by starting to treat their workers a little less like shit.

      “Catch back up?” With the exception of Cars 2 every single Pixar film has been a major commercial and critical success (and even that one made a boatload of money). I can’t think of any other studio that can make such a claim.

      I’m not sure what makes you think they treat their workers like shit, but I’ve toured their studio more than once and it looks like a freaking amazing place to work. Sure they often work long hours (just like most comparable studios), but where else can animators build actual, fully-stocked tiki bars in the middle of their work spaces?

  29. I am not enticed by this trailer and also experience the “meh” factor.

    The heroine is Merida which makes no sense to me.  Maybe I am being too pedantic, but why is a Scottish character given a Spanish/Latin name?

    I really enjoyed The Incredibles and Ratatouille.  Up was a surprise, so maybe this will be as well.

    1. Maybe I am being too pedantic, but why is a Scottish character given a Spanish/Latin name?

      Test audiences rejected Gruoch, Olith and Bethoc as being “too orcish”?

  30. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s a Pixar movie, but falls into the same kind of slapstick of your average Dreamworks trailer. In any case, after Bird’s run at the wheel, the quality of the latest Pixar films just feels…inconsistent. Great opens leading to blandness. 

    ‘Wall-E’ has such an amazing build up only to focus on fat, lazy boring humans and the eco friendly theme. Imagine if the story had stayed focused on love between the robots amid all the scrap of humanity. 

    ‘Up’ starts out with a homerun and then ends with an arthritic  80-year old man doing acrobatics and fighting off flying dogs. 

    We’re not even going to talk about ‘Cars 2’. 

    Trying to make up my mind whether the issue is the material or the director…

  31. I feel like 85% of this trailer is Pixar showing off their mad hair-modeling skills. I am totally okay with that. 

    I was impressed with Violet’s hair in the Incredibles, but this is…wow.

  32. One must remember when viewing Cars that it’s not for adults. It’s for little kids so that Pixar can rake in huge $$ in moychandizing moychandizing moychandizing (in the immortal words of Yogurt).

    When viewed from that angle, it makes more sense. Not saying it was great, but my son LOVED (and still does live) that film.

    But Cars 2 was the biggest load of animated crap I’ve ever seen. Heartless, soulless, pointless, violent, centered-around-Larry-the-Fakeit-guy garbage. Given the incredible stuff they (Pixar) have done in the past, I was stunned at how … just plain idiotic the whole thing was, even for kids. Heck, especially for kids (my 7-year-old son FREAKED THE HELL OUT the entire time, worrying all the cars were going to die).

    Either the death of Carlin and Newman forced them to come up with a new script ASAP, or they just didn’t care and  mailed it in.

    Regardless, I’m not sure I’ll pay outright to see another one of their films I was so mad at that movie. Instead, I’ll just borrow it from someone else if interested.

  33. I think Pixar lost karma with Cars because the notion was clearly lifted from Nick Park’s animated autos.  Or maybe they ran into trademark issues with Chevron and had to re-imagine them.  Something happened along those lines, that ‘s my guess.

  34. I’ve liked everything pixar does except the one about the cars, can’t remember what it was called though – something about selling toys… But i’ve felt everything else they’ve done has been top notch… including PC trash compactor meets and falls in love with Macbook Smugness. Love them all…. And I’m a picky kids movie guy…. i mean, i only see all of them, just in case one is supremely awesome. I wonder how much of this movie was inspired by “The Secret of Kells.”

    1. I wonder how much of this movie was inspired by “The Secret of Kells.”

      Ouch. The Irish and the Scots usually don’t really like to be lumped together like that. (Of course I’m the progeny of several such lumpings so I guess I shouldn’t complain.)

  35. “It stands 12 feet tall… with razor sharp claws…..LOOK AT THE BONES!!”

    Does this take place in the cave of Caerrbannog?

  36. We love Pixar in our house, especially Cars & Toy Story (1&3).  My husband and I found the first Cars movie to be pretty hilarious, we especially love the Bob Costas parts. Of course my son is a very “normal” 3 1/2 year old boy (no amount of gender neutral parenting was going to stop him from loving trains, trucks & automobiles). He’s obsessed with tow trucks and so Cars 1 & 2 were REALLY big hits with him. Movies like UP, Wall-E & Ratatouille my son says are “weird and boring”.
    Related: When all the toys surrender to their fate at the dump in Toy Story 3- everyone holding hands being thrown into the fiery pit of doom- it gets me every time. It’s really intense.

  37. Meh to all the Meh’s… John Lasseter and Co. have done an amazing job of avoiding the Disney complex, regardless of how much input Disney has had.   He even saved Toy Story 2 from being another canned and rehashed Megalo-Toon regurgitation in the last minute.   I don’t know why everyone is getting so down on something we all know is going to surprise us in the end anyway.

    Pixar is the first large scale cartoon production house to actually enforce positive morals in children that aren’t based on typical gender role stereo types, and common misconceptions about the intelligences of children.
    I’m stoked.   Even the worst Pixar film has Disney by the short and curlies.

  38. I’ve loved almost most every film Pixar ever did. Cars I didn’t bother to see in the theater and only watched once on TV (thought was “ok”). Cars 2 I didn’t bother with at all. I remember feeling like Cars was Pixar’s first semi-misfire. 

    The Toy Story movies were fantastic. Monsters, Inc., was a great concept and love the colors. Ratatouille blew me away, mostly due to its lush, warm visuals. That movie was just stunning from an artistic standpoint. I thoroughly enjoyed Wall-E… especially the first half. 

    One of my favorites, though, is definitely The Incredibles. I found the premise, the humor and the great retro feel to be just fantastic. The 60’s-esque style is just so well done, both on a visual and musical level.

    I’ll certainly give this a shot, too. Kelly McDonald alone will add some real fun to it. :)

  39. Pixar’s artists are the best in the world – and they’re at the top of their game.
    I’m gonna cut them some slack and reserve judgement until I actually see the movie.

    Personally, I liked the trailer.

  40. I think the problem with the trailer is that it’s a little vague.  It’s not bad, but it doesn’t really explain what it is she’s doing to “change her fate.”  It really seems almost like a teaser that they made last 2 minutes instead of the usual 30 seconds or so.

    Still, it looks like it could be good.

  41. I loved Wall-E.  I suspect, Cory, you didn’t love it because it was so derivative of 60s and 70s sci-fi, and the notion of whether or not a robot can be alive and have feelings, but that was sort of the point of the thing. :-D  They even brought in Ben Burtt for all the droid…erm, robot noises, and other industry veterans to help them get things right, like the look of anamorphic lenses. And I’m not sure why, but it amuses the hell out of me that Sigorney Weaver is the voice of the ship’s computer on the Axiom. The joy in her voice when she says, “10 seconds to self-destruct…”

    The thing I love about it is that it’s an okay sci-fi story that ends up being pretty kid-friendly.

  42. Sigh,  It looks as if Disney-kultur  has overwhelmed Pixar culture.  “Brave”  looks much like the garbage-y “Tangled”.

    No doubt Disney it exhausted by the courageous “Wall-E” or the excellent “Up”.  Disney is incapable of creating a movie as lovely as Toy Stoy 3.- they stray from Disney’s tired formula. 

    Sorry, Steve.  

  43. you’re feeling ‘meh’ because it’s yet another movie about a spunky princess (because there are SO MANY PRINCESSES IN THE WORLD) who tries to put down her weapon/books/interests/whatever and shape up and pick a husband but instead goes adventuring.  this is not to say that this storyline can’t still be done well and be entertaining, but really, seen one …

    that said, that red hair is mesmerizing, i may watch the trailer again with the sound off just to look at it.

    with a six year old girl in the house, there’s no avoiding disney princesses completely, but i inoculate with regular doses of spunky miyazaki heroines and avoid cg barbie and tinkerbell movies like the plague. 

  44. Well, I liked it. The trailer looks a bit more like Dreamworks than Pixar, perhaps, but I liked it! The hair was stunningly done! Wow! I liked the graphics overall, too. 

    And to all of you who are qq:ing over the princess-wants-to-be-a-hero story… no, it’s not overdone. Have you seen the amount of pink princesses that girls are bombarded with? Dainty little sparkly princesses? I’m not into that, my daughter is not into that. I rather have the princess that kicks some… training dummies. And I absolutely loved this princes! Although I don’t think she was a princess… just the daughter of a warrior, but perhaps I missed the princess part… I’ll watch it again (I think the hair distracted me).

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