Posted By Kathleen David on June 23, 2012
As usual the review above the cut will be as spoiler free as I can make it but below the cut and in the comments all bets are off.
Caroline has been wanting to see Brave since she saw the first trailer bundled with Toy Story 3 I believe. It appealed to her right off the bat. Since then I think she has seen just about every trailer that was available and the more she saw, the more she wanted to see. That is how we found ourselves in our local movie theater with her clutching her Merida doll eagerly awaiting the movie.
The Pixar short was entitled La Luna and was the usual delightful short that went in a couple of directions. This was one where they used sound and garbled words to tell the story but you could tell what was going on. I had a smile on my face at the end of it. It is a delightful little tale.
Caroline let out a little squeal of joy when the movie started and hugged her doll close. I settled back and watched the film unfold.
This is my favorite PIXAR film so far and I can’t tell you why without spoiling a few key points so my explanation of it is under the cut. I will say that the commercials manage to tip-toe around one of the cleverest parts of the plot. I didn’t see it coming and was very pleased that I hadn’t been tipped off. I will say that in many ways it is a coming of age story and tradition vs. new thinking.
Voice casting was top notch across the board. Then the animators took those voices and put them with fascinating characters to watch. The visuals on this are just wonderful. It did remind me of the Scottish Highlands. It is amazing to me how far PIXAR has come since Tin Toy. The people look more like people. The animals are amazing. They had to write an entire new program just for the hair.
The hair is almost another character in this film between the humans and the animals. But it is well done and looks very natural for an animated character. Caroline loves Merida’s horse Angus.
Over all I really enjoyed it and liked that PIXAR can still surprise me. The sound track is wonderful as well. I think Uncle Walt would have been very proud of this one.
It is rated PG for scary action and rude humor. Basically they say that the kilts are being worn traditionally so there are some bare bums at a couple of points and a couple of jokes on the potty side of humor. The scary action can get pretty scary and there are people put in danger but it all sorts out in the end. I would say that 5 and over will understand what is going on. Under 5, you might have to explain one or two things and assure them that everything is going to be all right.
And the soundtrack is right in my wheelhouse. I have enjoyed Patrick Doyle’s soundtracks over the years. This one harkens back to his earlier work.
This is not going to be everyone’s cuppa scotch but it is a solid film with characters that will stay with you after the film and a story that really touched my heart.
Also there is a tag at the end of the credits which is really quite funny so stay all the way through.
I am grateful that Pixar made this film.
I am serious about spoilers here.
Have you seen the film?
Are you going to?
OK I think why I loved it so much was that when you boil it down it was about Mothers and Daughters and the relationships between the two so I could really relate to the story. I honestly think this is the first really girl movie that Pixar has done and notice that the advertising skirted this so very carefully to make sure that boys came to see it. They emphasized the triplets and Fergus but the story is really Merida and her mother Elinore and the struggle between mothers and daughters that has been going on forever.
Elinore wants both what is best for her daughter and the best for the kingdom but the way that she has expressed it to her daughter hasn’t gone over too well. Merida sees her mother interfering and controlling every aspect of her life. Merida is a teenage through and through but she does have a point that her mother isn’t listening to her and what she wants. Motherhood is a balancing act and at the beginning of the film the scales are tipping one direction.
So Merida goes to see a witch. . . I’m sorry. . . a woodcarver who dabbles in the occult and gets what she thinks is the solution to her problems but only brings her more and worse problems to deal with. I think turning your mom into a Bear is a pretty drastic way to avoid getting married.
But as a Bear Elinor learns to see what Merida is like when she is just being Merida. It is obvious that they had a close relationship before Merida became a teenager and Elinor tried to prepare her for what she knew Merida was going to face in the future.
It is also a film about grown up and taking responsibility for one’s actions. Until Merida admits to both herself and others that she was the one that screwed up, she is not going to grow up. And, like most teenagers (and some adults I know), she doesn’t see that she is in the wrong so it’s not her fault. Until she looks outside of herself and see what she is doing to others, the spell can’t be broken nor can she really grow up. Sometimes kids, it is your fault and the best thing you can do is admit it and apologize and make it right however you can.
It did stretch the bounds of belief that Merida could ride Angus, sew the tapestry back up and keep her brothers on the horse but I’ll put that down to quickest way to the climax of the film.
So big o’ thumbs up to Pixar and thank you for a movie that I can enjoy with my daughter.