Move over Cinderella and Snow and don’t be jealous Arielle; a new fiery redhead is joining the club. It’s time to meet Merida.
“Brave” marks a lot of firsts for Pixar. It’s their first female protagonist, it’s the first Pixar princess, and it’s the first story set back in time. In their relatively short history, Pixar has made some truly fantastic films (“Cars 2” aside). They’re movies that I know are good, however they aren’t ones that I want to watch over and over like other animated films. “Brave” may be an exception to that rule however.
Princess Merida is the first born daughter of Fergus and Elinor, king and queen of a Scottish clan. She’s stubborn, strong-willed, independent, adventurous, and a crack shot with a bow and arrow. Her parents, well more here mother really, decide it’s time for her to be betrothed so they set up a highland games type event with three neighboring clans. But when Merida decides to enter the archery contest to win her own hand in marriage, her mother is a bit … perturbed.
That’s the story the trailers let you in on. The rest of the movie is about Merida riding off into the woods and stumbling upon a witch’s cottage. She gets a spell that will change her mother and, in the process, change her own fate. But things don’t go quite as planned and mother and daughter have to learn to work together and communicate to set things right.
I really, REALLY loved this movie. The plot completely surprised me and wasn’t what I expected at all. From the previews, I expected something between “Mulan” and “The Little Mermaid.” Strong female with parents that don’t understand her. And, it being a princess story, of course I thought there’d be a love interest thrown in.
Instead, it’s this incredible story about destiny and writing your own story. Also, it’s a heartwarming tale about the importance of family. (Of course it’s heartwarming, it’s Pixar.) I loved the relationships between the family members (mother/daughter, father/daughter, mother/father).
Merida is an 18-year-old girl who doesn’t know what she wants yet in life. But she knows what she doesn’t want. She loves her family, but like any teenage girl, she doesn’t want to be her mother. While the heart of the story may be about mother and daughter learning from each other, it’s as much about defining who you are for yourself.
The animation is beautiful, especially Merida’s hair. The music fits perfectly. The side characters are funny and entertaining without being a parody. And the voice talent isn’t distracting like it can be in other films.
I hate it when I’m watching an animated movie and all I can think about is, “Why is George Clooney’s voice coming out of that fox?” It takes me right out of the entire thing. In “Brave,” maybe it’s the accents or maybe it’s the fact that they didn’t hire actors that are super recognizable by their voice, but it works really well. I didn’t even recognize John Ratzenberger’s cameo (a Pixar staple) the first time I saw this one.
“Brave” was great and I really surprised myself with how much I enjoyed it. It felt more Disney, than a lot of other Pixar films. Maybe that’s why I’m so in love with it, cause I am now and forever will be a Disney kid. Go see “Brave!” You’ll love every minute, from the first scene of the Pixar short before it, “La Luna,” to the extra scene at the end of the credits.
FYI: How I rank the other Pixar films:
- Monster’s Inc (2001)
- Brave (2012)
- The Incredibles (2004)
- Toy Story (1995)
- Cars (2006)
- Toy Story 3 (2010)
- Finding Nemo (2003)
- Up (2009)
- WALL-E (2008)
- Toy Story 2 (1999)
- Ratatouille (2007)
- Cars 2 (2011)
- A Bug’s Life (1998)