Deadline has a post about how several media analysts are calling “Brave’s” $66.3 million opening disappointing. One calls the ticket sales “good, not Pixar great,” while another sees it as falling well short of their projected $81 million opening. Most damning of all is the perception that it’s just a good movie, not the creatively groundbreaking movie that’s expected of Pixar; it received only 74% good reviews on RottenTomatoes, which makes it just one of three Pixar films to fall below 90%. Cowen and Co analyst Doug Creutz says:
“…we remain concerned that the creative direction of Pixar may be wobbling as Brave is now the second consecutive film to receive less-than-rave reviews…While it may have been easy to write-off Cars 2 as a toy marketing campaign gone wrong, the fact that Pixar has released a creatively ‘average’ original film is of incrementally more concern…Given the price Disney paid for Pixar, and the importance of Pixar as an engine of creative content for the company, we take the risk of erosion of Pixar’s creative greatness very seriously.”
So two questions here: 1) IS “Brave” creatively disappointing? I haven’t seen it, so I’m just going off things I’ve read about it and heard from people. One is that it is visually stunning, so no loss there. The other, though, is that the script isn’t very original; after a good start it takes some wrong turns and ends up rather pedestrian. From everything I’ve read about it, I think it looks like it would be considered a very good Disney film. With the Pixar name on it, though, audiences expect more than a princess in trouble movie (and, as some have noted, Disney did a much better take on that with the enjoyable “Tangled”).
2) Is it fair to expect Pixar to produce a masterpiece every time? I really don’t think so. Sure, as a female member of the moviegoing audience, I would have preferred for the much ballyhooed first female protagonist in a Pixar movie to be one of the masterpieces, but every artist or group of artists is going to hit a fallow period sometime. And if everything was great, nothing would be great, right?
So with all apologies to Disney’s expenses in buying Pixar (and trust me, I’m not worried about Disney’s finances), I think it’s okay for “Brave” to be simply good, especially when there are so many outright bad movies. Go ahead, “Brave,” it’s fine to be just fine.