Like many people, I love Pixar films. They get right to the core of what it means to be human, and tell stories with sincerity that other studios lack. I went to Brave with some trepidation, but still had hope because it was Pixar. What I feel I found was a film that was almost a Pixar movie.
I don’t really want to ruin the plot, but when I say that I knew the entire plot—twists included—just from watching the trailers, I mean it. Truly, nothing in the film surprised me. Perhaps backstory of the demon bear? I guess I didn’t know that. Everything else I did, though. That screams of an incomplete story.
I saw the film with a grad school friend, and while the credits ran, we couldn’t help but give the film a workshop critique and continued to do so on the drive back to my apartment. I felt bad at first, because it’s wasn’t a bad movie, just not up to Pixar par.
Then I realized we were amid a good writing exercise. I recognized these flaws:
- Lacks character development.
- Lacks depth and completeness of story.
- Fails to make the audience care.
That sounds harsh, but I point these out because of the good they did for me. I’ve solidified the edits I’ve been wanting to make on my current project. I said that it was almost a Pixar film; I think one more development run and an extra draft would have gotten it there. Likewise, I knew that there was something missing in my current project, and have fought with nailing it down for about six months.
My main character was much like Merida: took some things at face value, whined, and otherwise had little genuine emotion behind her voice. I also had plot holes that weren’t sizable, but left the story flat. I think I’ve found a way to give my character an internal voice while giving her a fuller world to exist within.
And I wouldn’t have done that without Brave.