Is going through an entire movie without taking a bathroom break, even though you drank a large soda, considered brave? Is taking the risk of wetting your pants even considered a little bit courageous? Merida, the fiery heroine of the new Disney/Pixar animation “Brave,” makes it look like nothing compared to her troubles.
Voiced by Kelly MacDonald, this quirky princess wants nothing more than to be true to her tomboy-ish ways, shooting her bow and arrow and letting her long, curly, red hair go wild. But if her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), had her way, Merida would be a perfect lady, fit to be a queen. This mother-daughter duo butt heads on nearly everything, and unlike other Disney films, this film focuses on their relationship rather than anything romantic.
However, Queen Elinor summons suitors from neighboring clans to compete for Merida’s hand in marriage. For the princess, it is the last straw. In an attempt to change her fate, Merida enlists the help of a witch who casts a spell with some unfortunate side-effects, leading Merida to the greatest adventures of her life as she must undo the curse.
From encountering bears 10 times the size of Princess Merida to following mysterious creatures in the forest, I found myself completely engrossed in the story, never finding a dull moment in the movie. However, the previews of this film were a bit misleading; I expected it to be an epic tale of a young girl’s journey to fulfill her dream of changing her fate. But about 30 minutes into the movie, it took an unexpected turn that I didn’t forsee happening.
Produced by a large majority of women, this flick has strong themes of feminism, giving this hour and 40-minute movie a life of its own.The animation and voices are stellar, capturing the culture of this Scottish society and time period. It wasn’t a musical, but the eerie Scottish ballads that were playing in the background fit the movie perfectly.
Comedic relief was provided by Merida’s three mischievous younger brothers. These triplets can “get away with murder,” according to Merida, and are perhaps the most entertaining part of the film.
This production lacked the creativity and brilliance of “Toy Story” and “The Incredibles.” When Disney and Pixar unite, I expect an even balance of the two creative mediums, a story that entertains the kids while somehow including adult humor and overall, something that blows me away. It disappointed me that “Brave” seemed to have a bigger Disney influence rather than Pixar influence, like the witch with the faulty spell or the stubborn, headstrong heroine.
Luckily, Merida’s not your average princess. Where she lacks the grace and elegance of Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, she makes up for in her own quirky characteristics. Merida is no damsel in distress, intelligent ninny or songbird. She’s simply brave.
Seeing this movie is not necessarily something you need to put on your summer bucket list, but if you’re bored on a cloudy day, I’d certainly recommend it. It may not be as promising as other Disney/Pixar movies, but it might teach you a little bit about being brave.