A Sunday Morning With Pixar’s Brave

December 3, 2012 at 6:00 am

A Sunday Morning With Pixar's Brave | Brave Review


I love cartoons.  I’ve always been fascinated by the amount of work that goes into an animated film be it CG or hand drawn.  I grew up surrounded by Disney classics like Peter Pan, Aladdin, The Lion King, Beauty & The Beast and more.  Then Pixar came along and brought us places we never thought animation could go.  Toy Story inspired me like no other cartoon ever had and the hits kept coming.  One after another, Pixar delivered gorgeous new worlds with loveable characters and a imaginative stories.

Pixar’s tales were full of laughter & emotion.  All from the minds of passionate story tellers and dedicated artists.  I’ve said it many times: I really wish I could draw…

XTRA | Confessions of a Wannabe Animator

I never got around to catching Pixar’s Brave when it was in theaters.  (It didn’t help that I wasn’t really that interested) Still, new cartoons are hard to pass up at home on a relaxing Sunday morning.  So my wife and I rented it and once again, Pixar delivered a remarkable world.  The technological leaps they’ve made over the years is simply astounding.  Merida’s flowing red hair is a perfect example of what the studio is capable of.  Brave is a beautiful movie.

A Sunday Morning With Pixar's Brave | Brave Review

However, I felt the characters and story just didn’t have the same impact.  Perhaps it’s not fair to continuously compare Pixar’s current films with the classics of the past but we’ve come to expect so much from them.  I thought Brave’s story was extremely simple almost to a fault.  It’s understandable that Pixar set out to tell a story about the relationship between a mother and daughter but that’s really where it ends.  There aren’t many surprises to be found.  Merida is upset with her mother, acts out, makes a mistake, fixes her mistake and is no longer upset with her mother.

I also felt the supporting cast lacked a real standout.  The closest thing in Brave is the triplets.  They offer a few laughs here and there but they disappear for chunks of time and really don’t contribute much until the end.

A Sunday Morning With Pixar's Brave | Brave Review

To me, Brave set out to tell a story and succeeded.  (I still think they are geniuses.) It just seemed like they found their story and stopped there.  They didn’t push further nor did they take risks.  Here is the story.  Thanks for your time.

Having said that, I still think Brave is one of the best looking animated films of all time and I adore the setting they chose for the film.  The voice acting is spectacular as always and it is a nice little tale.  It just isn’t the classic I hoped it would be.  Bring on Monsters University.

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A Sunday Morning With Pixar's Brave | Brave Review

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Movies That Changed Everything: The Complete 12 Part Series

March 30, 2012 at 9:22 am

Movies That Changed Everything: The Complete Series

I’m an aspiring filmmaker and like every filmmaker out there, I have a lengthy list of films that have inspired me along the way.

Movies  That Changed Everything is a twelve part series examining the films that changed the way I looked at movies forever.

The Shawshank Redemption

The Lord Of The Rings

The Matrix

Pulp Fiction

Pan’s Labyrinth

There Will Be Blood


A Few Good Men

The Sixth Sense

The Dark Knight

Good Will Hunting


What films inspired you?

Movies That Changed Everything: Signs

October 30, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Movies That Changed Everything: Signs

I’m an aspiring filmmaker.  Like every filmmaker out there, I have a lengthy list of films that have inspired me along the way.  This series will examine twelve of the films that changed the way I looked at movies forever.  Films that have greatly influenced the filmmaker I hope to become someday…


Movies that changed everything: Signs

Signs is my favorite movie.  Ever.

Normally when I make that statement, I receive a confused look in return.

It IS my all time favorite.

When Signs was released, I was already obsessed with M. Night Shyamalan’s films.  The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable were both amazing movies and I was eagerly anticipating what the director would come up with next.

I had no idea his next film would literally help me decide what to do with my life.

Signs was fun.  It was a simple yet well executed concept with incredible characters but what stuck with me was how well he told his story.  It was original, funny, emotional and entertaining. (Yes…  Even the alien water thing.)

I can’t explain what happened.  I just loved it.

I’ve never felt so inspired in my entire life.

Movies That Changed Everything: Signs M Night Shyamalan

Around the time that Signs was released,  I was thinking seriously about making a life altering decision.

I was in University and well on my way to becoming an English teacher.  The idea was to teach and use my summer holidays to write.

Truthfully, I was unhappy about the direction my life was heading.  I had just realized that I didn’t want to be a teacher at all.

I felt lost

So I took a chance and transferred out of English and into a college broadcasting program.

It was the best decision I ever made as it led to my career as a professional editor.  Now I have a job I absolutely love and I write whenever I can.

Where does Signs come in?

Signs arrived when I was weighing whether or not it was worth it to pursue film at all.

Am I going to write screenplays or not?

M. Night Shyamalan’s brilliant film opened my eyes again.  Screenwriting is a big part of my life and there was no way I could leave it behind.

Before Signs came along, screenwriting was merely a hobby.  Once I saw it, screenwriting became my passion.

To this day, whenever I see that movie, I want to stop everything and write.

Some people may think it’s strange that Signs is my favorite movie.   I will even concede that there are tons of ‘better’ movies out there but that’s not always a good way to measure the impact a film can have on you.

Forget the fact that Mel Gibson isn’t the most popular person in the world right now.  It’s not about Night’s current string of disappointing films.  It’s not about the awards, the critics or the popular opinion.

For me, it’s about the movies you connect with.  The movies that inspire.

Signs came along exactly when I needed to see it.

I’ll always be thankful for that.

Movies That Changed Everything: Good Will Hunting

October 27, 2010 at 8:59 am

Movies That Changed Everything: Good Will Hunting

I’m an aspiring filmmaker.  Like every filmmaker out there, I have a lengthy list of films that have inspired me along the way.  This series will examine twelve of the films that changed the way I looked at movies forever.  Films that have greatly influenced the filmmaker I hope to become someday…

Good Will Hunting

Movies That Changed Everything: Good Will Hunting

I think Good Will Hunting may lead the league in 10 Flicks appearances:

I think it’s safe to say that I highly enjoyed Good Will Hunting.

It changed everything for me because of incredible amount of research that went into the script.  It’s the main reason I find Matt Damon’s central character so interesting.

I love character driven movies. I think it’s fascinating that you can create a fictional character so interesting that he/she can carry an entire movie on their own.

The research that went into this film must have been insane.  Each and every reference to literary giants and some of the smartest people who have ever lived had to have been carefully thought out.  It’s that detail that adds to a world that commands your full attention.  It’s that detail that makes the film great.

Beyond that writer’s Ben Affleck & Matt Damon bring their home town of Boston to life in addition to creating a strong supporting cast of characters.

It’s a big world they created to tell Will Hunting’s story and it takes a lot of effort and skill to pull it off.

Good Will Hunting taught me big lessons about character deconstruction.

You can literally take every scene in the movie and break down what you learn about Will.  In truth, anyone can write a scene that tells you something about a character but doing it in interesting and thought provoking ways is what sets this movie apart.

Through all of his confrontations, I like to imagine the revelations the screenwriting team had while they wrote it.

The magical moments when a story just clicks and you know exactly where you are going with it.

When you reach a point when the characters are real, they write the story for you.

It’s a trance every single writer strives to achieve.

I try to seize those nights every chance I get.  It’s an addicting feeling to turn your computer off and feel like you’ve written something memorable.

Screenwriting is meant to challenge your abilities.  Movies like Good Will Hunting inspire me to go farther and push myself harder.

Since I saw Good Will Hunting, I’ve tried very hard to make sure I fully research everything I write down to the last detail.  I still have a lot to learn but it’s a fantastic way to plan a story.

The work is fun because the reward is priceless.

Movies That Changed Everything: The Dark Knight

October 14, 2010 at 8:00 am

Movies That Changed Everything: The Dark Knight

I’m an aspiring filmmaker.  Like every filmmaker out there, I have a lengthy list of films that have inspired me along the way.  This series will examine twelve of the films that changed the way I looked at movies forever.  Films that have greatly influenced the filmmaker I hope to become someday…

The Dark Knight

Movies That Changed Everything: The Dark Knight.  Best comic book movie

Before I get into the greatest comic book movie of all time, let me first explain how much I respect Christopher Nolan and his talented approach to filmmaking.

I suppose my opening statement pretty much sums up my feelings on the director but when you create The Dark Knight and Inception back to back in addition to movies like Memento and Batman Begins, you’re on a roll.

I still get chills when I see that trailer. I had never been so excited to see a movie in my entire life.  For over a year, my friends and I searched the web for any and all news regarding the Caped Crusaders next adventure.

I got to the theater at nine o’clock to catch the first showing at midnight on opening day.  My friends and I waited in line for 3 hours.  The entire time, I couldn’t believe that I was finally going to see it.  The amount of hype The Dark Knight generated was truly incredible.  It helps that Christopher Nolan and company created one of the best viral marketing campaigns of all time.  Inception is another example of their talent for promotion.)

Could this be a defining moment in film history?

Pretty lofty expectations to put on a film I’d never seen.

Not only did The Dark Knight live up to the hype, it dominated my brain for more than two hours and left me speechless.

  • Did I just see that?
  • How good was that movie!
  • I can’t wait to see it again!

So I went the following afternoon with another friend of mine to see it again.  I simply couldn’t wait. I literally got home around 3 am, took a nap, woke up, ate a meal and went back to the movies.


The Dark Knight is THE reason why I’m obsessed with movies in the first place. It’s the magic of anticipating something you’ve never seen before.  There really is nothing like sitting in a crowded theater and being blown away by an amazing story.

It’s the reason I want to become a filmmaker. What I wouldn’t give to be able to tell a story like that.  A story that leaves you wide eyed and ready to tell everyone you know that they absolutely HAVE to see it.

The Dark Knight is a perfect example of what summer blockbusters should be.  Not only is it the best superhero movie of all time but many people rank it high on the list of gangster films as well.

Christopher Nolan’s follow up changed the superhero genre as a result. If you read movie news regularly you’ve already seen a new trend emerging.

There are tons of studio heads and producers demanding gritty movies like The Dark Knight.  Movies need to be darker and grounded in reality.

It’s a style that isn’t easily emulated but I’m willing to play along.

The bar has been raised high enough now that every comic book adaptation will be compared to the quality of The Dark Knight.

It’s that good!

The Dark Knight Joker Movies That Changed Everything

Click here to read: All Time Best Movie Villain… Guess who it is?

I have a theory that is especially true in the case of aspiring filmmakers:

You can learn a lot about someone just by asking them what their favorite movies are.

  • What kind of sense of humor they have.
  • Their favorite color.
  • What frightens them them.

The Dark Knight is easily one of my favorite movies of all time.  Since I saw it, it has influenced nearly every choice I’ve made in my own screenwriting.  I keep thinking about how I HAVE to work harder and evolve.  I have to practice and get better at my craft.

Kick ass filmmakers: Christopher Nolan The Dark Knight

The art of storytelling is easy to accomplish but difficult to master.  I consider myself lucky to have heroes like Christopher Nolan and his remarkable ability to tell entertaining and thought provoking stories that are just… Cool.

That’s the magic of going to the movies.  I love being excited in theaters.  I’ll see anything once but it’s EVENTS like The Dark Knight that I look forward to the most.

Sitting in that theater was one of the most inspiring moments of my life.

Sounds like a pretty intense statement to make but it was.  I set some pretty high goals for myself that night.  I will not state that someday I’ll write something like The Dark Knight.  (How arrogant is that?)

I’m simply stating that I’ll never stop trying.

In the mean time, I’ll always be on the lookout for another inspirational film like The Dark Knight.