Movies, Action and adventure
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As Disney heroines go, Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald)—the first lead female protagonist in a Pixar joint—is all hair. Her long, flowing crimson locks would make redheads from Lucille Ball to Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme quake with envy, and the animators behind this pedestrian medieval-era fantasy have clearly labored to get every strand to behave with uncannily true-to-life accuracy. Would that there were more beyond the coif, but Merida is merely a dull amalgam of modern Mouse House idiosyncrasies: plucky, rebellious and action-figure ready thanks to her ever-present bow and arrows. She’s also so not down with the traditions, sanctioned by her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), that go with the regal lifestyle.

Her Royal Highness is nonplussed by the princess’s radical notions. (Marry for love instead of having your hand won by a suitor?!? Ridiculous!) So is it any shock that when Merida finds herself in the presence of a wood-carving enchantress, she wishes the Queen into a, shall we say, bear of a predicament? What follows the casting of this semideadly spell is a lot of slapstick running around through stunningly detailed Scottish locations—most impressive is a foggy forest populated by ephemeral will-o’-the-wisps. Along the way, both mother and daughter attempt to undo the sorcery, learn some valuable life lessons and go horseback riding to a you-go-gals power ballad by Mumford & Sons. Ick. This isn’t the NASCAR-fellating cash grab that is the Cars franchise, but it’s still Pixar on preachy autopilot.

Follow Keith Uhlich on Twitter: @keithuhlich

By: Keith Uhlich


Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Friday June 22 2012
Duration: 100 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Brenda Chapman
Cast: Emma Thompson
Reese Witherspoon
Billy Connolly

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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  • 1 star:1
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Disagree wholeheartedly with this review. This is a great kids movie (for both genders), but it is also a pro-girl story without being politically feminist. This is a story about a girl who wants to be independent, and runs counter to the traditional expectations of a Princess of a similar age. A welcome rebuttal to all the other Disney "Princess"movies. I can't recommend this highly enough for tween boys and girls. And, the film is gorgeous!


This opinion sucks balls. He spends a third of the review describing the main character's hair, and then goes off about how dull the character is. Perhaps, he was too busy focusing on her physical attributes to consider what the character means to the demographic for which the movie was made? Didn't take the time to consider that it's essentially a kids movie, and in the canon of kids movies, it actually is a feat? Didn't take a moment to consider that little girls don't really see Cars as a "NASCAR-fellating cash-grab"? That a healthy mother-daughter dynamic is a rarely-explored one, especially in the Disney tradition? I mean, get over yourself. Not all movies are made for middle-aged white men. No wonder he's writing for Time Out.