An impetuous princess discovers that her reckless choice has put both her family and her father's kingdom in peril in this animated adventure from Pixar films. As a toddler, Merida (voice of Kelly MacDonald) saw her father, King Fergus (Billy Connolly), do battle with one of the fiercest animals in the kingdom -- a horribly scarred hulk of a bear named Mordu. Though Fergus lost his leg defending his family, Merida and her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), managed to escape the beast before it vanished back into the forest. Years later, Merida has grown up to become not just a skilled archer, but also a beautiful princess who inspires a competition among the eligible bachelors in the land. But Merida has little interest in getting married, and the harder her mother pushes the issue, the more fiercely she resists it. When the tournament for her hand gets under way and a deep divide opens between mother and daughter, Merida makes a wish that threatens the future of both her family and the entire kingdom. Now, with only a brief window of time to set things right, Merida must summon the courage to atone for her mistake and prevent a past tragedy from destroying any hope for a peaceful future. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Director: Brenda Chapman
Cast: Kelly MacDonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Julie Walters, Kevin McKidd
Release Date: Jun 22, 2012
Rated PG for Some Scary Action and Rude Humor
Runtime: 1 hr. 40 min.
Genres: Action/Adventure, Animated, Comedy
The rousing first act of Brave enchants the way you’d imagine a Pixar created film should. We are given a fully realized Scottish landscape that’s beautifully rendered, even more impressive in 3D, which is populated by wonderfully conceived character designs. It’s feast for the eyes and there a strong sense of self the moment Merida’s uncontrollable fiery red hair hits the screen. Kelly MacDonald, a favorite of mine from Broadwalk Empire, gives Merida the perfect blend of strength, drive and impetuous energy. Emma Thompson and MacDonald have good chemistry together in their mother daughter roles with Billy Connolly bringing a good sense of fun to the king. MacDonald’s work remains the driving force throughout the film but sadly the film falters by taking a far too conventional and safe route. It’s not a bad story by any measure but it’s not the type of cutting edge fare we’ve come to expect from Pixar. It’s enjoyable and once we hit the crux of plot, we all know how the plot will play out. It follows course fairly carefully rarely stepping to far into the deep end of some of the themes presented. As is the film works well but you can’t help but wonder if it wasn’t a bit of a missed opportunity for Pixar to make a truly different princess for the Disney stable.