I’ll watch most any Pixar movie, at least once, just because it is Pixar. Pixar Animation Studios is known for its excellent animation, fun stories, and interesting characters. In these respects Brave finds its mark. Set in Scotland, the story focuses on Princess Merida, daughter of the refined Queen Elinor and the earthy King Fergus. The plot follows a fairly traditional storyline. Merida is loved by her parents, but eventually she rebels against them when her role as princess gets in the way of her desire to make decisions for herself. I don’t think it’s revealing too much to say that when Merida learns she is expected to marry an unappealing suitor, she gets upset. What ensues, while not unpredictable, is well choreographed. Merida does some rash things and then bravely and effectively deals with the consequences. There’s magic, mayhem, malady and madness to be sure.
One thing to enjoy about this animated feature are the characters. While zany at times, when it matters they all prove to be grounded in “real life.” For example, King Fergus is an over-the-top Scotsman, full of bluster and boast, but when his family is in trouble, he’s totally focused and dedicated, willing to lay down his life to protect those he loves. Even Merida’s horse has elements of realism that I liked. Okay, the magic is not as true to life.
The casting also is well done. Anyone familiar with Billy Connolly’s work will immediately recognize him in the role of Fergus. He’s as entertaining, loud and silly as ever. Emma Thompson brings her usual elegance, wit and sophistication to the part of Elinor. Kelly Macdonald, as Merida, is strong, sassy, rebellious and smart.
For me the most appealing aspect of Brave is the animation. Not only are the human characters fun to watch, the animals come alive in and of themselves. Especially impressive is the scenery; buildings, trees, vistas, even the sky, are all drawn with care and beauty. Apparently, the animation is so spectacular because Pixar wrote new software to make it that way.
Because this is a Pixar (and Disney) production, you can be sure that eventually everything will be set right. Getting there is the story. Brave offers fine coming of age and family values messages. Like most animated movies of this genre it gives the viewer a story filled with excitement, remorse and some touching moments. In short, Pixar’s movie Brave tells a good story in a fun and entertaining way. With animation that is astounding, the movie can be enjoyed by anyone, whatever your age.
Check the WRL catalog for Brave