Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman and produced by Pixar, Brave follows Merida (Kelly Macdonald), the skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), who is determined to carve her own path in life. As she defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land, her actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom. When she turns to an eccentric old Witch (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.
For a Disney/Pixar film, I think it’s brilliant that they’ve created a Scottish princess who stands up for what she believes in and that the story avoids any kind of romantic sub-plot. It may be very different from what we’re used to with a Disney princess film, I wouldn’t say that this is a bad thing as the film is still full of depth and character developments.
There may be no knight in shining armour to save the day, but the film, instead, focuses on family. This particular family are incredibly fun to follow; they’re funny, adventurous, and all they need is a push in the right direction to reinforce that loyal bond that is so easily lost.
For a change, there’s something to relate to and a happily ever after that is realistically achievable (putting the fantasy/magical premise aside, of course). Beautifully animated and rich in culture and traditions, it certainly has a lot of heart, and the voice cast is absolutely superb.
Merida is a strong character, much like The Hunger Games‘ Katniss Everdeen, giving young girls something to be influenced by rather than encouraging them to look for the support of a man. It’s refreshing, to say the least, and I like the way that Pixar is heading.