Released: 22 June 2012, Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios
Starring: Kelly MacDonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly
Directed by: Brenda Chapman and Mark Andrews
3.5 stars (out of 4)
Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Witch (voice of Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late. (Walt Disney Pictures)
Brave is Pixar’s first movie with a female lead, and they storm out of the gate in high style with this action adventure movie for the whole family.
When Princess Merida (MacDonald) discovers that her parents, King Fergus (Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Thompson), have invited three clans to present their first-born sons as suitors for her hand in marriage she requests a spell from a witch to change her fate. When the spell manifests itself in a manner she never anticipated, Merida has to break the spell within two days or her family will never be the same.
Pixar’s Princess Merida puts the regular Disney princesses, and even many live-action heroines, in the shade. This girl is smart, athletic, humorous, and feisty as hell. It must be the mounds of red hair, which is almost its own character; I imagine that Pixar’s computer artists must have spent an incredible amount of time on Merida’s locks, as each curl bounces and flies in every direction. This is a girl who has zero interest in romance and is simply looking to be free to enjoy her archery and family, but is stifled by her mother’s expectations of what a princess should be. Many young girls should be easily able to recognize their own conflicts with their mothers in the arguments Merida has with her mother, Elinor. Mothers will definitely be bonding with the other side of the coin, and both sides will be lamenting how their mother/daughter “just doesn’t listen!” The drastic twist that is conjured by the spell will require Merida and Elinor to work together to break the spell before it is too late. (more…)