Disney Pixar’s latest installment, Brave, courageously conquers new territory with the addition of Pixar’s first female protagonist.
Set in the Scottish highlands, the film tells the story of free-spirited Merida. A young princess who challenges her mother and long-standing Scottish tradition.
The film starts very slowly and is loaded with unnecessary exposition. Yet, the slow pacing is saved by the fascinating lead character. Merida is a skilled archer with fiery tresses, and unlike most princesses she’d prefer outdoor athletics to a waltz with a handsome prince. So when her mother tries to force her into accepting the hand of a suitor from one of the neighboring clans Merida quickly rebels.
Out of this rebellion the plot of Brave is born. Now, it’s not the innovative experience that we’ve come to know and love from Pixar. This tale seems familiar and at times somewhat predictable.
However, it works because of the wonderful characters in the film. You can’t help but care for Merida and understand her struggles as a young woman trying to find her own voice. The friction between the young princess and her mother is akin to the bickering that most teenagers and parents go through. Merida’s younger brothers; a set of mischievous, carrot-topped triplets, are hilarious to watch as they wreak havoc all over the castle grounds.
The film may call for a little bravery among younger viewers because the tone is much darker than other Pixar creations. It’s not quite as dark as when Maleficent enlists all the powers of “hell” to fight the Prince in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, but somewhere in between there and Toy Story will get you in the ballpark.
Brave is an entertaining way to spend a Saturday afternoon, and especially if you have kids I say SEE IT (you probably don’t have a choice). It’s a cute film and it has an important message about the mother/daughter relationship.
I have to note that there is a short film preceding Brave called La Luna. It’s wonderful. Startling visuals and heartfelt melodies breathe life into the animation without the intrusion of words.