Last Thursday I was invited to an early screening of Disney/Pixar’s new film Brave.
You guys have seen commercials and trailers, right. They are endless. And I’m sure you don’t want to hear “If you could change your fate…would you?” ever again. But…you do want to see this movie. In 3D. <–words I never thought I would say.
The plot of the movie is not your average princess movie (and it IS a princess movie). There are no poisonous apples or Prince Charmings. Instead, there is a family. A solid family of love, legends, and traditions…and a mother-daughter relationship. Those are always interesting
I don’t want to give away too much of the plot – but here’s the breakdown: Merida (pronounced Mer-id-ah) is the wild princess of a clan in Scotland. The oldest of 4, who loves archery (it’s apparently a summer movie theme), climbing rocks (and giving me a panic attack), and riding on her horse.
One thing she is NOT ready for is marriage — and who can blame her. She’s like 14. Her father, King Fergus, is known as the “Bear King” because he was attacked by a bear (known as Mordu) and is missing his leg. This is important later, but I’m not going to tell you why.
Merida’s mom, Queen Elinor, is a doting mom, who has plans for Merida. She is a mom who’s clearly disappointed that her daughter is not a girly-girl and doesn’t know how to rein in her free spirit. The problem is — it’s time for her to get married. The other clans are summoned and the husband choices? Not so hot.
These are the dads. The husband selection is even scarier.
Queen Elinor, however, is trying to uphold tradition and refuses to let Merida back out. Merida is obviously pissed about this, runs away, and seeks the help of a witch. It probably goes without saying… that probably wasn’t her best decision.
I’ll be honest here — the plot of Brave is so-so and at times I felt like it was missing…something. BUT – some of my favorite movies are Pixar movies (Up!, Monsters Inc., The Incredibles, and Finding Nemo) so the bar is really high and it skews my opinion.
However, there are so things going for it though that I will champion and these are the reasons you should see (and enjoy!) the movie:
1. It is visually stunning. STUNNING. I cannot say this enough. The graphics in this movie are INCREDIBLE. I sat in the theater (when my child wasn’t screaming) with my mind blown at HOW amazing this movie looks. It is truly a love letter to Scotland. I read somewhere that Pixar updated their software for the first time in TWENTY FIVE years for this movie and it shows. Even though I hate 3D movies, this one is worth the extra $$.
2. It is a princess movie that defies all princess movies. FINALLY a princess who is not longing to marry someone to make her happy. She is self-sufficient, independent, and a great role model. Merida would not only beat Cinderella in an archery competition – but she would Prince Charming’s heart without realizing it — and tell him to shove off. Also, it’s the first Princess movie where the mom isn’t crazy. Elinor vehemently loves her daughter and her family.
3. Speaking of women — it is the FIRST Pixar movie to showcase a female lead. Sure there have been some awesome sidekicks (Dory, Jessie, Roz, and Elastigirl come to mind) — but never has the story been solely about them. Until now. Finally.
4. The movie just gets mothers and daughters. Like Finding Nemo was about fathers and sons — this movie is dedicated to every mother and every daughter who has wondered if their relationship is “normal.” (In case you were wondering – the answer is YES.) The best part of this movie, of course, was having L actually request to sit on MY lap during the mom/daughter scenes. I know she’s only 3 – but maybe she understood what this movie meant to me?
5. The movie, like most Pixar movies, does not leave out the humor. They always remember this an adult audience going to these movies too – and there are some really funny scenes. I had to tell my kids to shush a few times because they were laughing so loud. Also – the Scottish accents and dialects are authentic — and I could listen to them for hours.
6. There are redheads. What can I say – I love the gingers (is it a coincidence that this movie comes out on my redheaded husband’s birthday? I think not). I may never have a redheaded child, so I will just have to live vicariously through those who do – including fictional cartoon characters.
In the end – this movie ranks somewhere in the middle for me — along with Wall-E (which is also missing that…something for me) and the Toy Storys (mainly because I have seen them SO MANY TIMES). It’s a great family movie and a week later my kids are still talking about it. It is a little scary at times — and it’s without a doubt the most violent Pixar movie to date (ironic, no?).
That said, this movie will, no doubt, end up in my DVD/Blu-Ray library (only 3 Pixar movie don’t — I’ll let you take a guess at which ones we don’t have). Truthfully, I can’t wait to see it again.
So this review begs the question…If you could change your fate…would you???