Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Produced by Disney/Pixar
Release Date: June 22, 2012
Reviewed by Kelsie Beers
QUICK HIT — A delightful film full of stunning animation, Brave explores themes such as choice versus destiny and the importance of family — especially emphasising mother/daughter relationships — in a delightful and engaging way.
Brave is not your typical princess story.
Merida, the feisty princess of the DunBroch clan, loves archery, horseriding, the gorgeous rolling landscapes of Scotland, and letting her mop of red hair blow freely in the wind. In a word: freedom. The problem, of course, is that the sophistication and elegance demanded of a queen — personified in her mother Elinor — does not mesh with Merida’s idea of freedom. Even worse, she’s required to marry one of the princes from the other three clans, and while Merida isn’t simply railing against marriage in general, she wants to marry when she feels ready, rather than be forced into a marriage for the sake of appeasing the rowdy clans.
But Queen Elinor will have none of that; determined to uphold tradition, she argues with Merida behind closed doors while announcing to the clans that the competition to win the princess’ hand will go on as planned. Unable to stand it any longer, Merida runs off in desperate search of some way to change her own fate.
The story itself isn’t terribly novel — I could predict where it was going with reasonable accuracy — but there were certainly elements which had me laughing out loud and made the tale unique. Merida encounters a witch who is hilariously unlike the stereotype; only with much pleading and cajoling is any sort of spell cast, and, even then, the results are unexpected. The artwork, the scenery, is absolutely breathtaking. It amazes me how far animation has come.
A caution for parents wanting to take their small children: there are a few scenes with a rather large and scary-looking bear which would be very intense for younger viewers. In a way, this bear (called a “demon bear” in the movie, although it does not actually seem to be demonic) is the main villain of the movie, but honestly, the point of the movie isn’t a typical bad-guy-vs-good-guy type of plot. Merida and her mother must settle their differences and learn to listen to and understand one another. The consequences of foolish decisions must be faced instead of ignored or swept under the carpet.
Artistically, Brave is a masterpiece. Thematically, it tackles important questions and, in my opinion, gives great answers. In addition to this, Brave‘s main character as a princess with no prince is, well, brave, while not being overly feminist or anti-marriage or anything like that. All in all, a whimsical and beautiful movie, and a great conversation starter between parents and children!
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