We saw Pixar's Brave last night. It was outstanding. Hands down my now favorite Pixar film so far - (though I still save the first 10 minutes of Wall-E as a special artistic consideration.)
The CGI was particularly impressive and beautiful. The compositions of each shot were delicately handled and lovely. The director of photography did an exceptional job.
The story was fantastic and well told. It had every aspect of what a good story needs. Elements of fun, fear, danger, love, happiness and wonder. It's well rounded and excellent.
I know that some people are having some difficulty with this movie. So I am writing this as a direct open letter to all those confused critics and moviegoers.
John Lasseter was the Executive Producer on this film. While this sometimes means that they put up the money for the film - for the most part this means you're the boss. You run the show and handle every aspect and over see every part of the film. You have to be a qualified manager and organized person to be a good Producer. But that means the film is also a reflection of your vision - because you're the "yes" person. And the "no" person. The buck stops at the Executive Producer.
John Lasseter is possibly the biggest Hayao Miyazaki fan in the US. I know, I know - we're all fans - but if you ever heard him wax loquacious about Miyazaki San - then you will know how much he reveres his work. He is the person responsible for Disney having the distribution rights to Studio Ghibli's work here in the US, in fact.
Brave is a direct homage to Miyazaki's work.
It is a Miyazaki story - a young girl, working against all odds to change her fate, work through difficult relationships, embrace her strength and courage, and finally -- through her growth as a young woman and maturity, come out triumphant.
This is a more complex story than what US audiences are accustomed to with a Disney film. People expect a very simple and basic formula. Little boy/young man hero. Big evil villain. Conflict. Resolution. The end.
I can completely see why some of movie critics and moviegoers are having a little bit of a tough time understanding the nuanced nature of this film -- who expects the viewer to feel empathy and sympathy... with a girl.
But don't listen to any of that nonsense. This is a beautiful, exceptional film of astounding beauty and a warm, wonderful story of love and family.