The Magical World Of Disney #80: Brave

A girl with long, curly red hair stares at the viewer holding a bow and an arrow. Behind her is the film's title while at the left shows a bear staring at her.

Brave is a 2012 American 3D computer-animated fantasy comedy-drama film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It was directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman and co-directed by Steve Purcell. The story is by Chapman, with the screenplay by Andrews, Purcell, Chapman and Irene Mecchi. The film was produced by Katherine Sarafian, with John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, and Pete Docter as executive producers. The film’s voice cast features Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, and Craig Ferguson. Set in the Scottish Highlands, the film tells the story of a princess named Merida who defies an age-old custom, causing chaos in the kingdom by expressing the desire to not be betrothed.

Chapman drew inspiration for the film’s story from her relationship with her own daughter. Co-directing with Mark Andrews, Chapman became Pixar’s first female director of a feature-length film. To create the most complex visuals possible, Pixar completely rewrote their animation system for the first time in 25 years. Brave is the first film to use the Dolby Atmos sound format.

Brave premiered on June 10, 2012, at the Seattle International Film Festival, and was released in North America on June 22, 2012, to both positive reviews and box office success. The film won the Academy Award, the Golden Globe, and the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Feature Film. Preceding the feature theatrically was a short film entitled La Luna, directed by Enrico Casarosa.

Set in Scotland in a rugged and mythical time, “Brave” features Merida, an aspiring archer and impetuous daughter of royalty. Merida makes a reckless choice that unleashes unintended peril and forces her to spring into action to set things right.

Aside from Cars 2, what have we come to expect from Pixar. Great visuals, a good story, smart humor, and just an overall enjoyable experience.

And for the most part, we get most of them all except for the story. That’s the biggest flaw with the film is it’s’ story. Mostly because we’ve seen this story done several times before, the main plot of the story is for the most part from Brother Bear, one of the main characters turns into a bear and the main purpose of the film is for the two main characters to let go of their problems and find a way to work together and Brave follows in such a similar pattern.

But to be honest, this isn’t the first time Pixar has stolen ideas from other films, Cars is reminiscent of Doc Hollywood and A Bug’s Life is reminiscent of Three Amigos. At the same time, Pixar can usually get away with it if they do something clever with it, and for the most part, they do.

Now despite the fact that I didn’t like the story, I thought this movie was pretty damn good. I really do like the main character, Merida, and I give credit to Kelly McDonald for creating an impressive personality for her, I liked a lot of the characters, I liked how the story played out, and it knew when to wrap things up.

Possibly the best thing that made the film work was that the chemistry between Merida and her mother (voiced by Emma Thompson) was very well done. Even when she turns into the bear, I really liked the chemistry that she and Merida shared on screen.

Despite that story, Brave is a pretty damn good movie and one of the best movies I’ve seen all year. It isn’t up there with any of Pixar’s best but I will gladly take this over Cars 2 any day of the week.

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