Brave ★★★★

Even a lesser Pixar film still has plenty of leeway to be a decent film, and Brave is filled with humor and charm and beauty. Where it fails Pixar's high standard is creating a compelling central character. The red-head in Brave is simply too close to the mold of all the other recent Disney princesses - young and headstrong girl empowerment icons who embody easy feminism and budding femininity in equal parts. It's a character we've seen a dozen times before. But after establishing our plucky heroine and the basic dramatic situation (woefully underdeveloped), the movie starts to work its magic and becomes a lot of fun. The story is less complex or inventive as other Pixar films and consequently has less to offer adults. Even the animation offers few thrills outside of a mass of twisted, curly red locks, which I imagine a whole team of people spent the last four years of their lives bringing to life. Computer animation doesn't dazzle the way it used to, and it's all starting to look the same. Luckily Pixar understands that story is the most important thing.