Directors: Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell and Brenda Chapman
Writers: Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman and Irene Mecchi
Cast: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Craig Ferguson and Kevin McKidd
Studio: Walt Disney/Pixar
“Brave” works in the way that all grand children-centric tales excel. Underneath the folk-tale storyline lies the same life lessons that ring true for young and old. Though the movie heavily focuses on a mother- daughter relationship, it’s not just for girls anymore than Mulan was. Merida is a true Disney princess, with gumption, heart and an uncanny connection with nature, but the story could have been told from a male perspective and rung just as true, making it easy to empathize with Pixar’s first female lead.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to see a new crop of Princess Merida cosplayers emerge. But, I don’t know how much is the amazing work onscreen and how much is my obsession with Scottish redhead girls. Dazzlingly designed and realized, the sweeping and jaw dropping animated Scottish environments are among some of the best production design I’ve ever seen for an animated movie. Not to mention how perfectly the characters are animated. From the fearless expressions of Merida, to the hideous and menacing bear Mor’Du, everyone is all as they should be.
Kelly Macdonald and Emma Thompson are the focal point of the flick. The actresses play well off of each other in a way that I don’t see original casting choice Reese Witherspoon succeeding. It was, of course, the darkest Pixar tale so far and even the jokes got a little matured this time around. And I have to say this, though. The message the movie gives about freedom and family was very good. You may not actually appreciate it and get impressed as soon as you see it but once you see the movie and after a while you think of it, you’ll start liking it. It did happen to me.
Where can Pixar go from here? A lot of criticism has been leveled that this film is not up to Pixar’s usual style. Well, what can you do if not improve? Although the core plot is unconventional and unexpected, it has a fantastic heart and once again proves that Pixar can tell a story like no other. I don’t expect it to do “Toy Story 3” money, but it belongs to a special place that animation used to dwell. Emotional response from hard-drafted storytelling.
This is the kind of film that could’ve made me into a Disney fan as a kid. Some will argue about the nature of the female lead, but it doesn’t matter to kids. I watched many films and shows with female leads and loved the hell out of them as a child. Kids are attracted to story and they don’t need to be placated. “Brave” gets that and we are better for it.
RELEASE DATE: 06/22/2012