A lot has been made about this most recent Disney and Pixar film being the first Pixar film to feature a female main character. When all was said and done male or female, main character didn’t really matter to me, I just thought it was another well done film. Once again, Pixar showed they truly are the number one place for animated films.
The story of Brave is not anything particularly new. Basically, it is about Merida a Scottish princess with a will of her own. Her mother wants to teach her the ways of being a lady and what to do to unit her kingdom, but all Merida wants to do is shoot arrows and find her own way in the world. After rebelling when her parents try to pick her suitor, Merida makes a decision that could very well ruin everything. Now Merida with her mother must work together to fix everything and along the way maybe come to understand each other a little more.
One of the nicest parts about this film is how once again Pixar defied normal plot conventions. With this being the next “Disney Princess” they could have easily followed the example set by all princess films before. Instead, they threw out the idea of the usual princess finding true love story and made this more about a mother and a daughter. By doing that, they set themselves apart and once you realize they aren’t going the same route it adds a bit of excitement to the film, because you don’t quite know where they are going to go next.
As usual the voice talent is excellent. Merida is played by Kelly Mcdonald(Boardwalk Empire) and she gives such a spark and energy to the character, but at the same time makes her very likable. Emma Thompson(Nanny McPhee) voices Elinor, Merida’s mother. On display is Thompson at her most regal and just perfect for a Queen. Fergus, Merida’s father, is voiced by none other than Billy Connolly(Boondock Saints). He is almost instantly recognizable and instantly perfect for the part. He brings such a powerful yet funny and warm sound to the character, the instance you hear him talk, you can’t see anyone else as the Scottish king.
The animation in this film is beautiful. Pixar has done a wonderful job of depicting the Scottish high lands. Everything looks very lush and earthy. Unlike where Toy Story, Cars, and Monsters Inc are very bright and modern looking, Brave darkens the color and makes everything look more ancient and old. One of the most amazing things Pixar has managed to do with the animation is give Merida the most amazing wild head of hair I have ever seen. I give Pixar a lot of credit for this hair, because I don’t think it could have been done a few years ago. The hair is constantly moving and bouncing, it practically is a character of it’s own.
The only minor issues I had with the film was maybe a few times the accents of some of the characters went in and out, which is strange since they are all played by people from that area of the world. I almost felt as though the reason for the lack of accent was because the actors were trying to make it easier to understand for the general American audience. The only other issue I sort of had was the advertising of this film misleads you quite a bit. Throughout this film there is a lot of magic and bears. At no point has the marketing for this film even touched on either of these aspects. So when I went into this film I was expecting something completely different. Luckily, what you get is still great, just different.
All in all, I think once again Pixar and Disney have made another great film. They made a beautiful film that the whole family can enjoy together. It is funny and heartwarming with plenty action as well. Fans of the previous Pixar films will not be disappoint in Brave. Also if you enjoy all the previous Disney princess films such as Tangled or Little Mermaid then you are definitely going to enjoy the newest one.
5 out of 5