While I personally have yet to strongly dislike any Pixar release, the animation powerhouse clearly does have two tiers of films: emotional films with powerhouse stories like “Toy Story 3” or lightweight breezy fun pictures like “Cars 2.” ”Brave,” resisting easy classification within the Pixar canon, straddles a very happy median between the two.
The humor is definitely more of the “Cars” variety, zany and perhaps a little sophomorically silly. Though it’s not a tearjerker like the “Toy Story” movies, “Brave” most definitely boasts the present, beating Pixar heart that has made them the preeminent name in animation for nearly two decades.
Boasting a spunky, independent hero looking for satisfaction, wisdom, and maturity who just happens to be a girl also makes “Brave” the feminist movie of the year. The film doesn’t forcibly adhere to any of the conventional coming-of-age conventions for girls, nor does it degrade her femininity by deriving all her strength from manliness. It’s a nice reminder that self-discovery and self-realization is not relegated to one gender.