“Brave” is the first princess and female oriented Disney Pixar animation to ever be released. Rarely have they done any wrong when it comes to their movies and “Brave” is no exception.
Princess Merida is a rambunctious girl whose hobbies include riding and archery. She yearns to be free from what she deems a constricting life. Her mother Elinor, however, has completely different ideas as to what her daughter’s hobbies should be. Merida, who wishes to change her fate, makes a deal with a witch to make it so. The spell doesn’t go as planned and Merida’s mother, Elinor, is turned into a bear. Desperate to change her back, Merida goes back to find the witch and reverse the spell but the witch has disappeared. Left with a bear, Merida and her mother learn to communicate in a different way and end up learning more about each other than they ever thought possible.
The backdrop setting in the highlands of ancient Scotland are extraordinarily animated to perfection. The rock platforms amidst the greenery of the surroundings blend in like a well painted canvas.
What Disney Pixar always seems to do well is balance the amazing graphics and production values with an emotionally charged and well written story. The essence is not only for “Brave” to be entertaining and a visual feast for the eyes, but to intertwine these qualities with a moral and valuable lesson for the lead characters as well as the audience.
Merida’s feisty personality and longing to be free are brought to life wonderfully by Kelly Macdonald. Merida is a horse running wild, untamed and free spirited. With her voice alone, Macdonald embodies Merida and infuses her with vibrancy that’s just as bright as the Scottish princess’s red mane.
Emma Thompson gives Elinor an almost haughty airiness about her that speaks volumes. Immediately, you know she comes from royalty and believes in manners and being on one’s best behavior. However, Thompson also brings out the softness that’s at the center of Elinor as well as the deep love she has for her daughter.
The two leads have a great deal of depth to them and tackle the sometimes polarizing mother/daughter dynamic with finesse, care, and humor. In fact, all the characters are quirky and funny. Merida’s three brothers don’t say a word the whole movie and are still able to give a sense of humor to the story through actions and myriads of facial expressions. Her father is a large, tough looking man with a soft center and the witch, though her appearance is short, makes the most of her screen time and really plays up the laughs.
The story moves at a good pace and there is no time wasted between the introductions of the characters and the unraveling of the story. In fact, when the film takes off, the turn of events are very unexpected and enticing. The story is simple yet deeply meaningful in a way most animations can only dream of being.
It’s another fantastic job by Disney Pixar. “Brave” is entertaining for all ages and is both visually and emotionally stunning. The animation does have a catch though. After the movie is over, you may feel the need to call your mother and tell her you love her.