On Saturday night, I went to the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood for the late showing of Brave. I went with three El Capitan virgins and we decided to splurge on the VIP Seats. I've go to the El Cap several times and am still awed by the level of spectacle. This awe is amplified when surrounded by first timers. I had open jaws on either side of me.
I need to explain this for those who may have not had the experience of visiting Disney's theater, especially with the VIP Experience. Having done this theater so many times, going VIP is the only way to do it for one major reason- you have reserved seating. If you decided not to go with the VIP seats, there is often then need to queue up outside for an hour prior to the show time to ensure decent seats. Of course, the reserved section is comprised of all of the best seats. We were about five rows back in the Orchestra, dead center.
The VIP section enters the theater first and is directed to the concessions stand to pick up a souvenir bucket of popcorn and a drink. I have quite the bucket collection from my outings to the El Cap and they really come in handy. Off the topic, I even buried my pet rat in one!
The first big spectacle is when you enter the theater...on the stage is a giant organ and the organist is playing a medley of Disney songs. The second spectacle is the layers of curtains and lights that peel away in layers prior to the previews. The real spectacle comes after the previews with the stage show.
Now, the stage show is definitely aimed at kids, there is a high level of cheese involved with the entire production. Big Ben Union Jack likened it to a high school show choir competition and he doesn't even watch Glee. I think what gives it the "wow" factor is that it just never seems to end. It's one number bleeding into the next with various costume changes and Disney characters popping out all over the place. There was an enormous American flag and confetti cannons. It may be showy and silly, but you are getting a load of entertainment for your money and it makes it hard to see movies at another venue.
On to the main feature, as with most PIxar movies, Bravewas a cut above the average animated feature. It's not in the same league as Up or the Toy Story trilogy, but it has a solid story, strong characters and is visually stunning.
I thought that it was a bit ruined by trailers that gave away too much. Although enjoyable, the plot was fairly predictable and the trailers really compounded the problem. I probably would have rated it higher had I not gone in knowing so much about the movie.
Another problem that I had with movie was it had way too much slapstick comedy. It was a touch painful to watch and really not funny at all. A majority of the comedic elements of the movie didn't work for me.
The pacing was uneven and the ending was rushed. It felt like everything tied up too neatly and easily at the end.
What I really loved about the movie was the moral lesson and the parent/child bonds. I loved that the main character didn't have a dead or otherwise absent parent. I also liked that the movie didn't really have a villain. The story may have been predictable, but many elements of it were a departure from a lot of the other Disney movies. The hero of the story is a strong female who has to figure out a solution to her own problems. The only rescuing she gets is from another strong female, her mother. The movie is flawed, but I think that it's worth seeing and definitely a good movie for children, one that could be a step stone for good discussion topics.