New Movies to Crave: Pixar Gets Brave, Abraham Lincoln Hunts Vampires and the World Ends
By Chris Kavan - 06/21/12 at 04:12 PM CT
A trio of films will try to usurp reigning champ Madagascar 3 - and since one of the new entries is in direct competition for the family crowd, chances are the wacky animals will be knocked down a peg or two.
1) Pixar has had no end of originality, with plenty of diverse stories from super heroes to non-talking robots, but one thing they haven't had is a female-driven film. But that's all about to change when Brave hits theaters. A fiery redheaded-princess by the name of Merida is tired of being told how to do things - so she sets about (which comes as no surprise if you've seen any of the trailers) to change her fate. And, in a story that echoes shades of The Little Mermaid, her bargain with a decrepit old crone doesn't turn out like she hoped, and she has to go on an epic quest to make things right. Some people hemming and hawing that Pixar is bowing to Disney's whims to make yet another "princess" film (mostly for marketing purposes - because what little girl won't want their own Bow and Arrow after this movie?). I say those people must have nothing else to complain about, because Brave looks just as good as any other Pixar film - memorable characters (great casting - Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Robbie Coltrane and Julie Walters), a beautiful Scottish setting and even the music sounds properly Celtic. Yet it has a female princess - so what - at least it's not another Cars movie.
2) In the "what the hell are they thinking" department comes Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. A film that takes itself deadly serious despite the fact it's about young Lincoln... killing vampires. A well-toned Lincoln at that, who can decimate a tree with a single blow of his axe (and, presumably, slave-owning vampires as well). This looks like such a trainwreck that I'm oddly compelled to watch it just to see how terrible it turns out. Not that I'm going to line up - I'll wait for the DVD, or perhaps just read the book.
3) Finally, Steven Carrell faces the eminent destruction of all life on planet Earth as we know it alone, as his wife decides to walk out on him, so he decides to track down his old high school sweetheart because, hey, it's the end of the world and if that doesn't get you somewhere, nothing will. Luckily somewhat off-balance neighbor (Keira Knightley) is along for the ride. The premise sounds like a much more upbeat take on the "end of the world" scenario movies that have recently comes out (think Melancholia or 4:44) but it has only gotten some decent reviews, but something tells me it won't have broad appeal - more selective though it has enough promise that I would rent it given a chance.
It will be interesting to see how Brave does compared to Madagascar 3 - the opening will determine if Pixar has recovered from the rare misstep that Cars 2 brought. I'll have my review up this weekend and the final numbers on Sunday to tell the tale.