Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Canada.
With each new release of a Disney/Pixar film, there's a certain expectation of quality family entertainment. Since the studio's 1995 release of Toy Story (hard to believe it's been that long!), Pixar has been a box office mainstay with its charming stories about adventurous fish, lonely little robots and a family of superheroes. The secret to the studio's success? The ability to appeal to both children and adults. This time around, though, Pixar is doing something it has never done before — centre its entire story around a feisty heroine.
Strong-willed Scottish princess, Merida (Kelly Macdonald), has a tongue as sharp as her archery skills are exact. With a tangle of the most beautiful red hair you'll ever see, Merida resists the attempts of her parents, King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), to see her wed to a rival clansman to keep the peace. When three Highland chiefs show up in the hopes that Merida will select one of their sons for marriage, the princess shirks her royal duties and sets off to enlist the help of a witch (Julie Walters) in a desperate attempt to change her fate. However, in doing so, Merida unwittingly unleashes a curse that could potentially tear her family — and the entire kingdom — apart.??
Brave is Pixar's most visually stunning film; arguably their best since Finding Nemo. The colours are so rich and vivid you can see every inch of their textured details, from Merida's wisps of red hair to the beautiful Scottish scenery. Even the unnecessary inclusion of 3D doesn't affect the overall beauty of this film. Every single colour pops.
Credit is also due to the writers for not doing the obvious in pairing Merida up with a young prince. She struggles for her independence and her actions are thus rewarded. It was a wise decision considering that, above all, this is a story about the relationships between mothers and their daughters — a rarity in children's entertainment. Brave is a fun flick for the family to enjoy.
Parental warning: Brave has a couple of scenes that may frighten younger audiences. There are a couple of bear fights and one of the bears, in particular, is quite large (and a little scary) with glowing red eyes. There are also a couple of scenes of nude rear ends (animated obviously) — but it's harmless and the scenes are actually pretty cute.
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