A film review with a bit of a difference: a letter, reprinted below, published in the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound magazine (November 2012 edition, edited slightly by the journal). I wrote them in response to a largely positive review from Thirza Wakefield, of Disney Pixar’s Brave.
It’s not so much the content of Thirza Wakefield’s review of Disney Pixar’s Brave (S&S, September) that troubled me, although I do feel we must have been watching different films given the weak character, derivative plot and desperate lack of originality or humour that I experienced.
No, it was the concluding sentence of the review: ‘The Disney/Pixar team is scaling new heights of ambition, and if Brave…isn’t the peak, who knows what fun we’re in for.’
Aside from the quality of animation that Pixar continues to develop, it is blatantly obvious to even the most casual observer that the ambition of Pixar has been on an inexorable slide ever since the unfortunate Disney take over. From Toy Story 3 to Cars 2 to the forthcoming Monsters Inc. sequel, and the recently announced Finding Nemo 2, Pixar continues to fall from once great original film-making to another division of the profit driven Disney business, churning out derivative sequels guaranteed to make a healthy profit, but designed to achieve little else. The fact that Brave is a barely disguised Disney -princess-coming-of-age story, lacking Pixar’s once famous wit, verve and confidence, only further highlights the distinct lack of ambition and originality currently pervading the studio.
I fear the longer it remains beholden to Disney, the more the great original Pixar films will be diminished by further inferior sequels and (heaven forbid) straight-to-DVD releases.
Iain Kelly, by email
Film Rating: 2.5 out of 5.