October 31, 2020

Brave: Film Review

Disney Pixar brings us this bold princess fairytale that breaks with tradition.

In their first fairytale feature, Disney Pixar and directors Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman explore how times have changed as tradition is broken, but the family bond is kept intact. Brave takes us to the mythical medieval Scottish Highlands, for this beautifully aesthetically pleasing tale of fate and destiny.

Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is an unconventional princess who constantly rebels against her duties and expectations. She rides her horse while shooting her bow and arrow, which is familiar ground given the prior release of Hunger Games earlier this year, rather than helplessly lusting over princes and suitors and combing her wild hair. She has, however, come of age and her parents, King Fergus (Billy Connelly) and the Queen (Emma Thompson), have invited the other three clans to visit and present a suitor fit to marry Merida. Merida, however, wants to make her own path and sets off to change her fate. But things change in a way that she never expected, as she soon learns that her freedom has a price. She gains a new understanding of responsibility as she discovers that her fate is interwoven with everyone around her.

Featuring the first-ever female lead protagonist for Disney Pixar, this film takes a feminist stance as both the Queen and Merida are strong women who lead the men, however Merida is also against the union of marriage as she insists that she is strong and brave enough on her own. Instead, the film breaks with tradition, which is unusual for a fairytale, as Merida is not defined by a man, but instead chooses her own fate and destiny. Brave is a 21st-century fairytale and rather than reinforcing the patriarchal norms of marriage, the female protagonist remains strong and independent.

Brave ventures into unfamiliar homelands, as it is the first Pixar animation to be set entirely in Scotland. With a mainly Scottish cast including Billy Connelly, Robbie Coltrane as Lord Dingwall, Kevin McKidd as Lord MacGuffin, and Craig Ferguson as Lord Macintosh, these voices give the film an authenticity that complements the nationalistic view the film takes alongside the lavish aesthetics. With some great comic moments stemming from Scottish stereotypes, for instance; the myth that men do not wear underwear under their kilts and the strong accents that no one can understand, it all seems to be in good taste. Brave is a fantastically funny film that will keep adults and children entertained throughout, although at times it may become a little scary for those a little younger.

Brave encounters many firsts for Disney Pixar as it ventures into unfamiliar territories, but does so successfully. With a vibrant palette of blues and greens that contrast with Merida’s fiery hair, the image never ceases to look spectacular and capture the lavish landscapes that make up Scotland’s Highlands. Full of heart and humour, Brave is perfect for adults and children alike and is definitely one to watch this summer.

Opens in cinemas on 17th August.

2 Comments on Brave: Film Review

  1. I loved the film very much myself. And while, to be honest, I was initially drawn to it because of its many pagan allegories, I did not know how unique the film was to Pixar’s track record. I think I can at least appreciate the studio a bit more than before, considering I have never really enjoyed a Pixar film before this; hopefully it is a sign of their future films to come!

  2. I loved the movie and it inspired a little inner celebration as I saw a popular fairytale without a prince charming. But when I researched it a little, what bothered me was the fact that Brenda Chapman, the original director, was replaced by Mark Andrews. I think the movie would have played a more important role (and came out even better) if Pixar would have set a precedent by employing its first female director – even more when the story was inspired by her relationship with her daughter.

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