Directed By: Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews
Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Craig Ferguson
UK Release Date: 13th August -UK
Quick Plot: Adventurous Princess Merida, of ancient Scotland, is set to choose a suitor for marriage as part of her fate. Hoping to change her fate, Merida is granted one wish but is tricked into a curse and must use her courage and strength to do what is best.
Review: Setting a family animation in ancient Scotland, as opposed to the sea, a monster headquarters or a young boy’s room could seem like a risky move for Pixar, but keeping their family approved fun and heart-warming glow, Brave is a Pixar charmer all over.
In a world where trailers reveal too much of a story and often expose twists, Brave’s publicity did everything right. With so much concerning the film back when it was titled ‘The Bear and the Bow’, Pixar have been able to keep the majority of ins and outs under wraps meaning that the film is full of surprises.
From the moment the film starts, Brave sets up the story with a touching cold opening to enlighten viewers to the characters back-story before it gets to the main tale. Unsurprisingly, Brave’s character development is an essential part to the film’s story, at the same time focusing on the relationship between audience and characters- a fundamental Pixar feature. Merida’s flashbacks and narration give her something a lot of female leading Pixar characters are missing. Without using a heartbreaking montage like Up, Merida’s small intro still captures the sense of connecting emotionally with characters for audiences of all ages. Strength and boldness define Merida, and although at times the sympathy falls on her side, she’s a courageous female influence nonetheless. A perfect example of a Disney Princess fighting their own battle.
It’s not Merida who sticks out as the main attraction of the show though; it’s her three little red-haired, adorable brothers, who go about causing more mayhem and troubles than her sister. Every time they are on the screen, both children and adults laugh because they give the film the cute factor.
Clearly technology is advancing as the years go on, so Brave has an advantage over previous Pixar films in that it is visually gorgeous. There are some stunning landscape shots of Scottish grounds as well as Merida’s vibrant hair, and despite the fact it’s all animated, it feels real.’ Real’ in the sense that it feels extraordinary to be so high up over glorious castles and waterfalls, being able to notice all the fine, human-like details.
Like all family films, the message in Brave is touching in all aspects of growing up, family bonds and being true to yourself. Like Finding Nemo and the father-son relationship, Brave emotionally portrays the precious bond between mother and daughter. There are a few parts of weepiness of course, but without it Brave would just be a tale of a rebellious teen getting her way. In this one, Merida learns a lot while being independent.
Being relatively short for a present day summer flick, Brave’s ending comes almost too quickly. With the story continually moving on to the next part, there is no time to feel discontented. Having the ability to not drag is something very few family films get right, but it’s something Pixar nearly always achieve.
At first glance, Brave might seem less of an adventure compared to talking toys or cars, but Brave’s glorious colours and touching sentiments make it just as, if not more, enjoyable and captivating as other Pixar greats.