BRAVE is another original story from Pixar, which has been churning out many classic animated films that have easily become crowd favourites for children and adults. This time, in tackling the princess fairy tale genre, it scores another hit with lush and exhilarating visuals showcasing its highland setting in medieval Scotland.
The story centres on Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald) the daughter of jovial King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and the loving, but strict Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson).Merida’s life is one that has been predetermined, with endless
lessons on court life and expectations to be more ladylike. An accomplished archer, she would much rather be outdoors on her horse living the free life.
Her rebellion against the strict and officious rigours of royalty puts her at loggerheads with her mother although deep down, both love each other very much. The height of Merida’s dissent is at its peak when she discovers that she is to be married off to one of the sons of a local Lord. When the slender princess runs away on the eve of the decision on who she will marry, she encounters the Will O’ the Wisps, little magical blue forest sprites that are said to lead people to their fates. The cutesy apparitions lead Merida to a witch who, after much persuasion, gives her a spell to use on her mother. This would seemingly allow her to change her destiny, although there is a catch.
Things, of course, turn out for the worst, with an unintended side effect that forces Merida and her mother to flee the castle in order to rectify their problem.
Brave, like your typical Disney fairy tale, has a witch, magic and a moral lesson at the end. But unlike other fairy tales, she is a strong and independent heroine, and not in search of a Prince Charming.
There is also no traditional bad guy in Brave and the moral of the story here is one of consequence of actions, and taking responsibility for them.
Although it seems more predictable and the story kind of straight forward compared to other Pixar productions, Brave still is a fun film with great visuals and action sequences. The voice work for the animated characters are also well done and help to make the world of Princess Merida believable.
The men take a back seat in the story and provide for most of the humour. And it’s the film’s tender mother and daughter relationship at the core that will warm hearts.
While Brave is not in the same stratosphere as other Pixar classics like Monsters Inc, The Incredibles or Wall-E, it’s still an entertaining journey well worth a watch, especially for the young ones.
Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
Featuring the voice talents of Kelly Macdonald, Julie Walters, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, Robbie Coltrane
Duration 93 minutes