What We ThoughtGenre: Animation
After a series of sequels, its wonderful to see the studio going back to creating beautiful new worlds. While the film might not stand up to some of their classics, Brave is still a crowd-pleaser and should satisfy most.
If you could change your fate, would you?
After two years of making sequels, Pixar has returned to creating new worlds and characters. In Brave, young princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) must learn to coexist with her mother and lay her own fate. While Brave doesn’t have the emotional oomph that earlier Pixar greats have managed, it is an enjoyable new creation from the team.
In a Scottish kingdom, King Fergus (voiced by Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voiced by Emma Thompson) are preparing to marry off their only daughter Merida. Elinor has been preparing Merida since the day she was born to be a proper lady and uphold the traditions that have been set forth. The only problem is that Merida isn’t ready to get married yet. She wants to ride her trusty horse and let her hair blow in the wind while she shoots her bow and arrow. There is a rift growing between mother and daughter.
After a falling out with Elinor, Merida hastily leaves the kingdom. Arriving at the stone structure that looks like Stonehenge, Merida follows some Will O’ the Wisps, small mystical beings with ability to lure someone towards their fate. She eventually happens to stumble in front of the hut of a wood-carver/witch. Merida wants for nothing else but to change her mother’s mind about her impending marriage. She buys everything from the witch including a recipe that will change her mother’s mind. Once Merida gives her mother the recipe she soon discovers that she hasn’t changed her mother’s mind, but has in fact transformed her into a bear. Merida will have to muster up all her courage and strength to protect her mother until she a way to turn her back.
Brave was originally entitled The Bear and the Bow, so perhaps the knowledge of some bear transformation should-be foreseen. The first act of Brave had a lot of highlights including the introduction of the clans vying for the hand of Princess Merida. The suitor that made the most impact was a chubby lad who seemed to speak in a different language, but each had their funny attributes. Merida also has three younger brothers. They cause all sorts of mischief and are extremely resourceful. The brothers are mostly used for jokes, but they are essential to the events of the movie as well.
The movie falters in the second half though. Instead of the human drama that made up much of the early events in the story, animal slapstick ends up being the majority of the rest of Brave. The transformation not only transformed a major cast member, but also the trajectory of the film. While most of the segments will still ring true, there’s something about a bear trying to eat properly that didn’t work.
Merida’s hair is so vibrant and detailed…it could’ve become a vital plot point.
Brave is the first movie that Pixar has decided to feature a female protagonist. Sure Merida holds traits that other princesses may possess including being stubborn and thoughtless towards the concerns of others. The things that make Merida different include her love for nature and her precision marksmanship with her trusty bow. Merida has more in common with Miyazaki heroines that those from the Disney fold.
Continuing the streak of amazing visuals, Brave excels in all categories. Featuring waterfalls and Scottish locations, as well as, the most beautiful rendered hair in memory, Brave is stunning. Merida’s hair is so vibrant and detailed, there’s reason to believe it could’ve become a vital plot point. Pixar has tried something new with Brave and that can always be commended. After a series of sequels, its wonderful to see the studio going back to creating beautiful new worlds. While the film might not stand up to some of their classics, Brave is still a crowd pleaser and should satisfy most.