By Gary Murray
Starring the voice talents of Kelly MacDonald, Emma Thompson and Billy Connolly
Written by Brenda Chapman, Mark Chapman, Irene Mecchi and Steve Purcell
Directed by Brenda Chapman, Mark Chapman and Steve Purcell
Running time 100 min
MPAA Rating PG
Selig Film Rating FULL PRICE
Pixar is still the greatest studio of all time. Even with the missteps of Cars 2 and John Carter, the little production house still managed to generate millions and win countless fans. The latest is an introduction to the newest princess Merida and it is called Brave.
The story takes place in a fantasy idea of Scotland in the days of the clans. Merida (Kelly MacDonald) is the oldest daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly). She is a fiercely independent young woman, handier with a bow and arrow than with the trappings of royalty. As she becomes a young woman, she finds that she is to be given her hand in marriage. This upsets her.
At a tournament, she takes up her weapon and stuns everyone by showing that she is a better archer than all her suitors. This embarrasses the men who may be her future husband and infuriates the queen (Emma Thompson). Merida storms out of the castle and notices the wisps in the forest. This leads to a witch who offers Merida a spell that will help her out of her predicament.
This spell changes her mother and the two must flee the castle in order to find the witch and break the spell. Brave is a tale of mothers and daughters. It is also about doing what is right and finding out what is your responsibility. It is also a gorgeous and empowering work of art.
The comic relief of the film is handled by the red-headed tykes that are Merida’s younger triplet brothers. They are pastry-addicted little hellions who know every little nook and cranny of the castle. These little guys will do anything for a sweet, much to the chagrin of everyone in the castle. The mop-top junior league are reason enough to see the film.
Brave is one of the most beautiful films ever put on the silver screen. With sweeping vistas that fill every bit of space on the cinematic canvas this is a 3D masterpiece vision. The directing team of Brenda Chapman, Mark Chapman and Steve Purcell use every trick in the Pixar handbook to achieve a film that no one has ever seen before. Pixar has always been at the cutting edge of innovation and this is another leap with the computer as cinematic art.
One of many reasons to see this film is the Pixar short that accompanies Brave. The little film La Luna is a striking and lyric bit of storytelling, moving but using scant words. It is of three generations of workers and a job that lives in fantasy. It is a work that needs to be experienced on a large screen.
The story feels a bit like a Highland version of Brother Bear, one of the lesser animated Disney films. That said it is still one heck of a fun ride and another triumph for the little studio that always makes 100 million per release.