Tuesday, November 13, 2012


The fusion of animation between Disney and Pixar studios has resulted in some dynamite movies over the past few years. Many have become the classics of the future for children including movie series like CARS and TOY STORY. There hasn't been a single movie from the combined efforts of these two that has yielded a bad movie. This holds true for their latest release to DVD, BRAVE.

BRAVE takes place in an unnamed country that more than likely is Scotland pre-Christianity days. These Celtic warriors talk tough and battle against the likes of bears when not fighting one another (something alluded to as the film progresses). In this world is a young princess named Merida, a free spirited young woman who loves to roam the countryside with her bow and arrows, riding her horse and climbing mountains. But that's not the thing that a princess should be doing as her mother reminds her of over and over.

Her mother wants Merida to be a young lady of refinement, ready to take over the duties of a queen when the day comes. That day comes sooner than Merida would like when her mother and father inform her that the leaders of the other three clans are on their way bringing with them their first born sons, her eligible suitors. Ever the misunderstood teen in these sorts of films, Merida revolts against her parents and when a tournament is held to determine who will win her hand, it is Merida who wins the match and announces she is free to choose as she likes. This doesn't go well with the clans and arguing ensues.

Back at the castle Merida and her mother have words that result in Merida slicing a tapestry of her family her mother made and running off to the woods. In the woods she comes across a Stonehenge type area where she spies a sprites (blue lit fairies of a sort) that guide her to a house in the woods where a witch lives. Talking about her desire to determine her own fate, she makes a bargain with the witch to help find a way to change her mother.

Returning with a gift for her mother, a treat that contains the spell, her mother eats a portion of it only to become ill. Once in her room with Merida's help, her mother changes into a black bear. Not a good thing since Merida's father is known for being a bear killer. The two escape the castle and head back to find the witch's house in hopes of returning the queen back into herself.

In order for this to happen, Merida and her mother must mend the tear in their relationship that has come about. Not only must they do this figuratively they must do so literally as well with the tapestry. Along the way they begin to understand one another clearer than they did in the past. But if they don't take care of this problem soon, the queen might stay this way forever.

What we have here is a failure to communicate. Okay I had to say that. But the gist of the story lies in the inability between a teen and her parent to be able to come to a common ground. This, as well as several exposed bottoms on the warriors, makes the film more inclined to be one for teens as opposed to the younger crowd. That might not be easy since by that age they're past cartoons, computer animated or not.

The movie is entertaining with some great music in it. The animation as always is breath taking to behold and you'll wonder just as I did how they are able to capture such detail in some areas like Merida's hair. The story is one that might even help a few teens and their parents come to terms with one another and communicate better than before seeing the film.

My only problem was that this isn't the sort of film Disney was known for. In the past magic was on display in Disney films but was used as a plot device. The jaded apple, the pumpkin carriage and such. In this film the magic stems from Celtic symbols and revolves around magic. This might not mean much to some people but for me it gave the film a different feel than the normal Disney films I grew up with.

Still, the movie does offer a nice piece of entertainment. It tells the story of a young girl looking to find her way in life and how she achieves that. For me, it won't go down as a classic Disney tale and my guess is it won't be remembered as well as most, but it's still a good movie.

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