Jun 24, 2012 / 11:00 am
Since 1995's Toy Story, Disney and Pixar have been putting out one great film after another. It's no surprise then that they have once again scored a hit with their latest animated adventure called Brave.
Featuring their first ever female protagonist, Pixar's Brave tells the story of Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), a free-spirited, feisty Scottish girl who also happens to be a very skilled archer. With her long flowing curly red hair Merida is happiest when she can hop on her pet horse and ride through the forest while shooting her bow and arrow at targets. Unfortunately for her an age-old custom dictates that she must take part in an arranged marriage, which of course she wants nothing whatsoever to do with. She clashes with her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), who demands that she honour this tradition and act like a proper princess. Her father, King Fergus (Billy Connolly), is more concerned with telling stories to whomever will listen about the time when he fought a vicious bear and lost his leg. He spends most of the movie obsessing over getting revenge on this nasty bear. Refusing to get married Merida takes off and then encounters an old witch (Julie Walters) who grants her an ill-fated wish that ends up having very undesired consequences. I won't spoil what happens then as the story takes a turn involving some peril and danger.
I enjoyed Brave quite a bit. I was especially struck by how beautiful and lush the visuals were. The film looks absolutely gorgeous. There is a fair amount of humour in the film as well so it's quite entertaining throughout. While there is definitely some rousing adventure contained within, at its heart this is a story of the relationship between a mother and daughter and the special bond that they share. This is the emotional center of the film, and where most of the weight and depth of the picture is contained.
The first half of the film definitely plays a little lighter than the latter half so parents with really small children may want to be cautioned that there might be some frightening and intense scenes for the little ones. Also lending their voice talents to the proceedings are Craig Ferguson, Robbie Coltrane and Kevin Mckidd as three lords who provide many of the films comedic moments.
While this may not be amongst the very best that Pixar has created, and it didn't resonate as strongly for me as Up or the Toy Story films, it is still a wonderful family film that can be enjoyed by all ages. You should most certainly check out Brave.
I give Brave an 8 out of 10
*Note - stay until the end of the credits for a bonus scene*
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