Every once in a while I go to the movies with the kids. It’s a pricey endeavor and therefore I look for films that are promising. I heard good things about Brave and so we went.
The story is a variation of the ‘we need to secure the kingdom, so you must marry’ theme that has been employed in many fairytales with varying degrees of success.
In this instant the unwilling heir is Merida, the feisty firstborn of the Scottish king Fergus and his much more refined queen Elinor.
The movie portrays better than I have ever seen the struggle between freedom to make your own way on the one hand and adherence to responsibility and tradition on the other. Both sides, as embodied by Merida and her mother get equal emphasis. There is no one position right away better than the other.
Merida herself is a strong heroine who is instantly likable and very far away from a damsel in distress. King Fergus, the suitors, and Merida’s three little brothers add comic relief and local color to the story. There are supernatural elements that drive the story forward, but they too have a lighthearted side to them. The only thing you won’t find is a sappy love story. My son was very happy about this fact.
On the technical side I need to mention that the animation is so cusp, clear, and detailed, that it almost feels like Pixar is just showing off now. Every hair (and Merida has a lot of them) is just flowing the right way and you can even see the characters breathe.
I asked my kids what they thought of the movie when it was over. They said that it had everything. I quite agree with them. We weren’t mislead, Brave is worth watching in the theater.
P.S. Like with pretty much all Disney/Pixar movies, there is a scene at the end, after all the credits scrolled through. At the screening we went to, my kids and I were the only people left in the movie theater so see it.