Director: Mark Andrews
Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson
This film is a step in a different direction for Pixar. And while I will guess that there will be many people who will find this entry by the brilliant studio difficult to embrace, I’m here with open arms. This film is a much more serious turn for a Disney/Pixar film, with much less humor (although I feel that when there was humor in this film, it was very effective) than it’s predecessors such as Wall•E and Up (two of my recent Pixar favorites) Brave strives to tell a fairytale that starts out as very familiar, yet takes an interesting turn.
The great Kelly Macdonald (No Country for Old Men, Boardwalk Empire) plays the voice of Merida, a young redhead princess who doesn’t really want to be a princess. She’s a bit of a tomboy, excelling in archery and horseback riding. There is a very strong mother-daughter conflict in this film between Merida and… well… her mother (played by Emma Thompson). Merida’s mother Elinor tries to teach Merida what it is to be a lady throughout much of the first half of this film, as she prepares Merida to choose one of three suitors, who will compete for her hand in marriage. This is where things become a little familiar and the film doesn’t really hint that the movie will be much more than a daughter rebelling against growing up and getting married.
But… the film takes a big turn and becomes something much more than what it is at first glance, as there is a spell that is conjured up that provides for some interesting events. I’m sure you’ll be able to figure it out if you know how to search the internet, but I won’t be the one who ruins the surprise. All I’ll say is that I really enjoyed the twist the film takes about midway through.
So… while this may not be the most beloved of the Pixar stash to the general public, it’s certainly near the top for me. Of course, I’m kind of a sucker for this type of setting, and I found the mother-daughter relationship in the film to be one of the more interesting, and well-developed relationships in a Pixar film. I found it to be just as emotional as any of the the previous Pixar films, even though I can’t really relate to the mother-daughter dynamic because I do happen to be of a different sex.
Whatever one may think of the subject matter or how much someone is in love with a different Pixar film and feels that there’s no way this movie will be as good as Finding Nemo, or Toy Story (good lord! Pixar makes good movies!), Brave is definitely a worthy entry in a continuing library of classic animation (the Cars series excluded of course).
My Rating: 4 out of 5