Brave (2012)

Now I’m getting amazed at myself.  One movie a week and both that I had anticipated this year. This one I had wanted to see for the last few weeks but never actually got a chance due to going away on vacation, and my boyfriend was interested in other movies, etc.  So what do I do? My best friend and I had a girl’s day out and went to catch Pixar‘s newest feature, Brave.

Overall, the experience was fantastic, making that 45 minute walk in 38C hot and humid weather to the farther theatre so much more worth it.  We saw pretty interesting previews also.  I had already seen on Youtube the ones for Despicable Me 2 and Hotel Transylvania but it also had the previews for Monster University (next year’s Pixar, I believe) which looked funny, and Wreck It Ralph, which I’m still thinking if it will be good.  I’ll see if other trailers come out closer to the release date to get a better idea of what to anticipate.

The other treat we usually get with our Pixar movies are the short films.  This year’s is called La Luna.  I have to say that I really enjoyed it.  The concept was cute, humorous and simple but definitely original.  It was appealing and warmed our hearts.  If you get a chance, do check it out.  I don’t want to go too much into detail because it is a short movie so there’s not much saying the plot that wouldn’t ruin the experience.

Now we get down to business.  The main feature, Brave is pretty much a movie about a princess who wants to take her life in her own hands.  She wants to change her fate and destiny simply by winning her own hand of marriage for starters.  Our princess, Merida  was a charismatic one with a cute accent and a great personality.  To some, Pixar finally falling into a princess movie to follow the line of Disney‘s long line of classic princesses might not be appealing.  To me, this princess, Merida was very different.  She portrayed a more free minded princess who didn’t want to be saved by Prince Charming.  In fact, the movie didn’t have much of any male leads except for the king (Merida’s father) and the 3 clans who came to have their first borns win her hand in marriage.  Brave featured pretty strong-minded women.  Even the king Fergus was not as good as working the crowd and controlling the environment in the room as well as his queen, Elinor’s ability to do that.  She stood up to protect when she needed to in a more emotional and psychological way whereas the men were portrayed as more physical protection.

There were a few things that stood out in this movie more than others.  I like the whole concept of taking your fate into your own hands a whole lot because it broke out of the normal and it does send a nice message to the new generation. Second, I liked how they utilized the concept of freedom.  It also shows you that everything comes with a cost.  “Are you willing to pay the price that your freedom will cost you?” The lesson behind this story was the story not only that you can change your fate, you can earn your freedom but in order to do that, you need to know that there’s always a price to pay.  Its never a free lunch.  For her, it was meeting a witch and hoping that things would change, that her fate would change but of course, we know that course of events never simply go as planned and she learns in the process of the value of responsibility for your choices and actions, and of the costs of earning what you want, but most of all, it leads us to learn something else and thats the third concept in this movie that I enjoyed. The third concept was there because it wasn’t about romance or finding Prince Charming, instead they replaced it with a family bond, the mother-daughter relationship.  This was definitely an original idea, especially for Pixar.  It showed its new ideas to touch the screen.  It set itself apart from any other princess movie.  It lead us to pull our heartstrings and keep us attached to the characters.

Aside from portraying some fantastic themes, this animated feature was very appealing to watch.  Exactly what you would expect from Pixar of course, its a standard they’ve been good at.  All the characters added a bit to the storyline, whether it was to move the story along or simply to bring in a few laughs, it was absolutely worth it.  You could hear that they successfully made us attached to the characters as when certain things happened, you could hear the audience react.  In an animated feature, we don’t expect too much from acting, more tha vocal talent which I will look at later on.  We look at the storyline, the characters they’ve developed for it, the animation itself’s quality.  With Pixar, we never truly question the quality as they’ve always brought us the best.

Now, vocal talents. Queen Elinor was done by Emma Thompson and she was simply fantastic at it.  King Fergus was voiced by Bill Connolly and he gave the King a humorous and witty spirit. Merida was voiced by Kelly Macdonald and she was great at giving life to a rebellious princess.  We had the three sons of King and Queen and they were just silly little rascals who brought in laughs in the most serious situations.  I think that is really important, especially in animated features.  The tone should never tense up too much because it should be geared towards a more lighthearted crowd.

Overall, it as a great experience.  I enjoyed the fact that Pixar did a princess movie and gave it its own twist.  It was not only original for that but also the fact that it gave us a focus on family values and relationships.