This film should do wonders to get kids pestering their parents to take a trip to Scotland. A pity that when they get there all they’ll find is cans of Irn Bru and fried Mars Bars littering the Loch Ness. Probably. That’s how I imagine Scotland anyway. Not deep forests and flowing ginger princesses like what we see in Brave. Pixar have a more majestic mind than my own.
Brave is a princess tale done the Pixar way. Princess Merida is the ginger haired lass who wants to fight against her forced destiny and constantly gets in fights with her mother. A planned marriage is underway and Merida is having none of it, fighting for her own hand in a game of archery then legging it into the woods where she meets a witch who can change her mother. Just not in the way Merida was hoping. With her mother now a bear, Merida must get her back before she becomes a permanent grizzly, and the two start to bond in this unlikely scenario. They also have the warrior father to deal with who lost a leg to a bear. You can see the conflict readying itself already. The story is simple, but the stunning vistas of Scotland and the fluid animations make this Scottish adventure one to gawp at.
It isn’t the most striking of Pixar’s output however as the style lingers close to Dreamworks own How To Train Your Dragon. It’s always weird how both studios tend to have similar films out around the same time, but this time it is Pixar releasing after. The story itself differs though by offering up a daughter/mother film with great chemistry and is completely relatable. As a mother myself I have great trouble with my angsty teen daughter.
It’s great fun to see how Pixar handle the topic in a fun but meaningful way and Merida is a princess for the modern age. Much like the art style, the actual set pieces within the story aren’t as imaginative either, going for rather predictable results but the three younger brothers of Merida offer some funny brat gang moments. Nothing genius however, and too much of the mother being a bear humour comes from the bear making funny noises as it tries to nag. This isn’t quite as smart as the gags seen in the amazing prison break sequence in Toy Story 3. It’s Pixar running at medium power.
Brave is still an entertaining film which still gives a lot to children and adults alike, and while it isn’t the bravest adventure from the team, it isn’t Cars 2. And thank the lord for that.