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Pixar goes Disney in its first period piece

Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) has a problem with authority, especially her nagging mom, who just wants her to settle down with a nice boy from one of the neighboring clans in their medieval Scottish village.

But she's a super-strong heroine who can show the guys a thing or two about charting their own paths, even when another one has been laid out for you. Plus, she totally kicks ass with a bow and arrow.

Pixar's latest 3D extravaganza Brave is filled with the studio's usual knockout CGI and attention to detail, but the animation studio's genre-busting storytelling stalls a bit in its most Disneyesque movie.

Brave is pretty much an old-fashioned fairy tale spiked with some modern girl-power themes and few surprises. Even the witch whom the free-thinking princess obtains a spell from to change her fate has been kicking around Disney movies since the 1940s.

But redheaded Merida is a great character, strong enough to carry the film, even if her story isn't exactly a new one. --Michael Gallucci

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