Verdict: 3.5 / 5
Disney brings you a tale of young girl that seeks a different path in life than the one presented to her. Brave, the latest production from Pixar provides a number of firsts for the studio: first period piece, first fairy-tale movie, and their first film with a female protagonist. Despite all these firsts, the movie still maintains the high quality footage we’ve come to expect from Pixar. Set in 10th Century Scotland (with Pictish culture), the story follows the adventures of Princess Merida and presents the audience with great visuals, family comedy and even a few scenes of action.
Princess Merida, a hot-tempered, spirited young girl who loves archery, is determined to shape her own destiny, which sees her defying the customs of her people. After meeting a witch, she is granted one wish that would potentially change her destiny. Her wish, however, changes more than she bargained for and she must rely on her bravery and archery skills to undo the curse.
As with all Disney movies, the plot revolves around a character acting out in a moment of selfish expression to turn things in their favour, which ultimately leads to numerous consequences that only they can undo, but only after a series of trials (adventures). Brave is no different. Princess Merida always finds herself on the wrong side of any decisions made by her mother, Elinor, most of which revolve around the topic of marriage and customs. In an effort to rebel against her mother, Merida takes matters into her own hands. Add in some magic, this time in the form of a witch (not far from many other Disney plots), and you’re left with a spell that goes horribly wrong and the countdown begins as time runs out to reverse the actions of Merida. The overall story is by no means great and lacks ambition. At the same time, however, you are still able to relate to each of the characters and sympathise with their actions and outcomes; Merida is by no means a typical Disney princess.
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Brave relies heavily on its stunning visuals, which include Merida’s curly red hair. The best example of this is a scene in which Merida decides to challenge for her own hand in marriage when she shoots her last arrow. As she takes her final breath before releasing her arrow, we’re treated to some slow-motion footage that places emphasis on her hair and the physics of the bow and arrow as it strains under the pressure when released. Being filmed in 3D, this would have been the perfect time to showcase the level of depth as the arrow moves toward the ‘screen’, but in the end it doesn’t deliver. The 3D in this film is hardly noticeable, and with a large amount of low light scenes, wearing the 3D glasses makes the experience all the more annoying.
What seems a strange conclusion, although Pixar has provided us with a great visual experience (minus the 3D), the story doesn’t spark much thought despite a few twists along the way. With the sprinkle of comedy throughout, this movie isn’t bad at all . With no expectations of great storyline, along with no nit-picking, you can still enjoy this movie for what it is, an enjoyable adventure, action, comedy animation, with a side order of history (if you look close enough).