This weekend, Pixar's latest offering, Brave opens in theaters, and it's a movie that you will see based the Pixar brand alone. Will you like Brave? Is Brave the movie that you think it is? As a service -- even though nothing is going to stop you from seeing Brave -- we answer every question that you could possibly have about Brave.
Q: Is Brave Pixar's worst movie?
A: No. Pixar's worst movie is still Cars 2.
Q: How long did it take you to decide that Cars 2 is worse than Brave?
A: Twenty seconds.
Q: Is it ever a good sign to be mentioned in the same sentence with Cars 2?
A: Other than, "Where should we send your paycheck for Cars 2, Mr. The Cable Guy"? No.
Q: Are you being unfairly critical of Brave because you hold Pixar to a higher standard?
Q: Oh, c'mon. Is Brave really that bad?
A: Look, it's not that bad, but it's certainly not good. Or, at least up to the standard that Pixar has set for itself. Also, I felt a strange sense of betrayal in regards to the storyline. The plot of the movie was not at all what I was expecting from the trailers. (We'll get to that.)
Q: OK, then. What is Brave about?
A: Brave begins with a prologue of sorts. Set in Scotland, we meet young girl named Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald) who -- along with her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), and father, King Fergus (Billy Connolly) -- are attacked by a giant bear. In the attack, King Fergus loses a leg.
Q: Are bears a recurring theme of Brave?
A: Good lord, you have no idea.
Q: After, does King Fergus develop an unhealthy dislike of bears?
A: To be fair, he did lose a leg. But, yes. When the story picks up a few years later, Fergus is still recanting the tale of his fight with a bear to anyone who will listen. The castle is also littered with stuffed bears.
Q: So does the plot revolve around Merida vowing revenge on the bear that attacked her father?
A: No. By the time the story picks up, Merida seems more annoyed by the bear stories than actually angry with the bear itself. She is angry that she's being forced into an arranged marriage by her (fairly well-meaning) parents.
Q: Whom does Merida have to marry?
A: There's a group of three from which she has to choose. In the meantime, the potential suitors compete in a series of games in an attempt to win her heart. Merida is not impressed and escapes to the forest in protest.
Q: While in the forest does she encounter the bear? Is this the beginning of Merida's grand quest?
A: Here's where things get tricky. I'm of the mindset that the following information is not a spoiler. I mean, it's the main plot of the film. You may disagree, so, there's your warning. Continuing: while in the forest, Merida, who is still very angry with her mother, meets a witch who is really into bears.
Q: Wait, what does that mean?
A: The witch owns a trinket shop. All of the trinkets are bear related trinkets. In other words: It would be like entering my apartment, only everything that said Star Wars on it was replaced with bears.
Q: Does Merida purchase a bear trinket for her mother? Perhaps as a potential peace offering? I mean, people love a good bear trinket?
A: The opposite of that, actually. The witch gives Merida a spell-infused cake with only the instructions that it will "change her fate." Of course, with that ominous warning and asking no questions, Merida tricks her mom into eating the cake. Most of the film is Merida dealing with the fallout of what the spell does to her mother.
Q: Is it safe to assume that it's bear related?
A: Very safe.
Q: From the trailers and the clips, did you have any idea that Brave is about a girl who accidentally turns her mom into a bear?
Q: Does Merida explain to her fairly reasonable father what has happened?
A: No, because, as we learned, he hates bears. So, Merida is worried that her father might not care that his wife is a bear and just kill her anyway. Again, to be fair, if I learned that my dearest loved one had been transformed into a wasp -- and even if I 100 percent believed that to be true -- my dearest loved one would probably be smacked by my shoe.
Q: Did you enjoy the 3D in Brave?
A: To be fair (again, again), I'm not sure if this is the film's fault or the theater's fault, but Brave was one of the worst 3D experiences I've ever experienced. The movie was so dark, at one point, for about 20 minutes, I decided to watch it without the 3D glasses. Blurry seemed to be the lesser of two evils. (I will say, the animation was top notch -- what I could see of it.)
Q: Who in Brave is brave?
A: Well, the evil bear seemed pretty brave. I mean, he attacked without much hesitation. And I certainly wouldn't call Merida a coward, but brave is a stretch.
Q: What would have been a better title for Brave?
A: Defiant, Help, My Mom is a Bear or the original title, The Bear and the Bow, would have been much more accurate titles.
Q: Will anything you say stop me from seeing Brave?
Q: How many jokes using the pun unbearable did you hear after the screening of Brave?
Q: If Brave weren't a Pixar movie, would you feel the same way?
A: Look, if you're going to advertise your movie by proclaiming that it's from the studio that brought me Wall*E, then, dammit, I want a movie that is in at least the same ballpark as Wall*E. (So, admittedly, probably not quitethe same way.) Though, the plot of Bravenever aspires to be anything more than a kids movie or an above average episode of Three's Company. Which, for Pixar, is disappointing.
Q: Wait, in what episode of Three's Company was a character turned into a bear? I'm not sure you're remembering that show correctly.
A: I can't remember specifics, but I'm pretty sure there's an episode in which Janet is turned into a bear. Perhaps it was Larry.
Q: Is there anything remarkable about Brave?
A: Yes. I can't remember the last time a film's main plot (not a twist ending) was purposely kept from an audience that wasn't specifically part of the marketing. In other words: This isn't Super 8 or Cloverfield -- movies that not knowing the plot is part of each film's appeal.
Q: Did you learn anything from Brave?
A: That someone on the Brave writing team is really into bears.
Mike Ryan is senior entertainment writer for The Huffington Post. He has nothing against bears. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.