I’ll start out saying that I’m biased. I’m utterly in love with Pixar and the movies that they make. I can even forgive them having to make a Cars 2. We all have to make money. So I was prepared to love Brave and I did. Find out why after the jump.
It was not at all what I expected in terms of plot but I should have known better. The Disney marketing department cleverly assured me I would be getting yet another princess adventure story like Disney has been making for the past 90 years. Brave was not that at all. At its heart, it was the story of that time in our lives when we all rebel against our parents. In the case of girls we’re especially hard on our mothers.
Kelly Macdonald (an actual Scottish actress!!) voices our star Merida, the spunky princess who takes no prisoners. When her mother sets up a tournament to win Merida’s hand, Merida must take control of the situation and roundly beats all of the most unsuitable suitors. This disastrous breach of princess decorum sparks the fight between Merida and her mother that sends Merida riding off into the night. Our young princess stumbles on a witch’s cottage and is granted the power to change her fate. We’re given no clue as to how this would be accomplished but remember this is no Disney story. We’re not on a quest to win a prince, or prove our worth, Merida must mend the relationship with her mother in order to become the princess she needs to be. It’s a happy ending of course but we do get the feeling that our princess really does learn her lesson.
I have to admit that even I was looking for the prince to come out and claim Merida’s hand at several points during the course of the movie. They leave a Disney princess unwed?!? Blasphemy! Tip of the hat to Pixar. While the plot was not overly complex (it is a kid’s movie with adult elements, people) it did have all of the hallmark, story touches that make Pixar movies great. We get an engaging set up of Merida’s childhood. We get a few adult moments between the king and queen. We learn our lessons and most importantly it’s fun! The countryside, Merida’s adventures, the characters she meets are all fun and funny. It’s authentic and I would recommend you go see it right now.
One last side note: just as we all know to stay till the very end for Marvel movies, so too do we know that there will be an animated short before any Pixar movie. This one, called La Lune, was no exception. I have to say this one nearly brought a tear to my eye. The simple story of three generations caring for the moon was delightful. It was simple, whimsical and touching. La Lune is worthy of any award we can throw at it.
9 Scottish princesses out of 10