Since The Avengers
came out all the way back in May, this summer movie season has been
lacking in anything approaching greatness, which is why so many are
excited about the new Disney/Pixar film Brave.
When you hear Pixar is involved with a movie, visions of Toy
Incredibles and Ratatouille
start dancing in your head as their reputation and track record for
greatness precede them. However, Brave
is not like all of those other Pixar movies.
Kelly Macdonald provides the voice of Merida - a Scottish princess with
a strong will and stronger archery skills. While Queen Elinor (Emma
Thompson) wants her daughter to be a more traditional princess, and
makes every attempt to teach her more lady-like ways, the two seem to
be getting driven further and further apart by their own stubbornness.
It all comes to a head when King Fergus (Bill Connolly) invites the
leaders of the other three Scottish clans to present a young man worthy
of winning Merida's hand in marriage. She's not all that into the
arranged marriage thing (especially since none of the guys look like
George Clooney or Justin Bieber), which leads her to run away into the
forest, where fate, and an evil witch (Julie Walters), put Elinor at
great risk, unless Merida and she can make peace with each other.
It's very difficult to say Brave
is a movie for little kids as our heroine fights peril at every turn.
Death and danger are intense in this one, which might be too much for
the typical audience for an animated picture. To the creative team's
credit, not only are the facial expressions and emotions so compelling
in cuter moments, but, in the scary moments, the reactions of bears,
warriors and more is stunning.
Also making this one a better fit for older kids and adults, Brave
is a movie about relationships, especially those between teen girls and
their mothers, not exactly the type of stuff you make toys out of
(although, the idea of a Merida doll with a pull string that has it
scream, "Mooooooom, you just don't understand," is kind of funny).
Writers/directors Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman and Steve Purcell (along
with writer Irene Mecchi) rely on the age old battles and family
dynamics to draw in the audience.
It is that emotional pull that makes Brave
better than most. It has a message to convey, no matter how obvious or
sappy it might be. And, I think that's why you might find yourself
tearing up a little bit at the big climax because the creative team has
mostly avoided too much silliness and too much kiddie shenanigans. It's
real, honest relationships and emotions we all recognize.
Leave the kindergarteners at home, and take your tween daughter to this
one, if she is willing to be seen in public with you.
is rated PG for some scary action and rude humor.