Garrett's Review of Brave
BRAVE is a splendid family oriented-fantasy adventure with a Scottish flavor and heaps of heart. Directors Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman have crafted a rich film with rich characters, landscapes and believable characters within a traditional, yet deep storyline. The animators have crafted a lusciously beautiful land with an influence in Scottish folk lore evident in their tireless efforts.
Chapman's story for BRAVE is a thoughtful, meaningful, adventurous and above all believable story of rebellion, pride, betrothal, fate, love, understanding, and the bond between mother and daughter. Once the traditional framework of the story opens up to portray Merida and Elinor as not just a princess and queen at odds, but also a mother and daughter estranged from one another; who just may find common ground in both their lives as the story progresses.
Kelly McDonald as Princess Merida embodies a fierce and independent spirit in her multi-faceted role, Emma Thompson voices Queen Elinor with pristine elegance and later understanding, Billy Connolly voices King Fergus with a lovably buffoonish personality with a warrior's sensibility, and the rest of the cast enlivens the story that much more.
The humor found in BRAVE is family-friendly and also quite lively, as Merida's dessert-loving brothers/triplets and the idiosyncrasies between the rival Scottish tribes vying for their firstborns to be wed to Merida come alive whenever they are on-screen.
Yet the second section of the PG rating says "and some scary action" after the "rude humor" bit rings true. When required for the story, the action that takes place is honestly scary and somewhat violent, but not overly so.
BRAVE certainly is a solid effort from Pixar and Disney thanks to the adventurous and meaningful storyline, the stellar voice acting, the lusciously beautiful Scottish Highlands-inspired environments and characters, and the tenacious and independent heroine Merida. Yet the instant-classic recognition of Pixar's past efforts, such as RATATOUILLE, WALL-E, UP, and TOY STORY 3 is missing here. Don't let this mention deter you from enjoying BRAVE, because Pixar is still and always will be Pixar. There's no beating Pixar when it comes to lively and meaningful all-ages animated entertainment of the highest order. That's a guarantee.