We’re all familiar with Pixar’s trademark style because of films like “Finding Nemo,” “Toy Story,” and “Monster’s Inc.” but with their newest film, “Brave,” it’s become apparent that they’ve moved in another direction. Pixar has deviated from their traditional, innocent M.O. and the product has been an edgier, but still quite enjoyable, film.
So the trailers for this movie were less than helpful when trying to figure out exactly what the plot of the story was. Personally, all I got out of them was that there was a princess who wanted to compete for her own hand in marriage and change her fate because she was an archery enthusiast, or something along those lines… The trailer mostly focused on the visual aspect of the movie, which was fantastic, but I’ll get to that in a minute. So here’s a less ambiguous idea of what the story is ACTUALLY about.
Set in a midevil Scotland, Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2) is anything but lady-like, finding joy in archery and horseback riding, much to her mother’s dismay. Her mother, Elinor (Emma Thompson, Nanny McPhee) has worked ceaselessly to make Merida proper enough so that she may one day be married to a prince of a bordering clan. When that day finally arrives, the rift between Merida and her mother grows until finally she runs away. In the forest where she finds solace, she meets a witch who promises to have the ability to change her fate. Merida quickly requests the old woman’s help in changing her mother and thus changing her fate, but, as usual, things don’t go according to plan, and Merida has to fix it before the spell becomes permanent.
So what exactly about this film is different from other Pixar films, because so far the plot itself doesn’t seem out of the ordinary, does it? As opposed to talking toys and lost fish, this film actually has some questionable violence and humor that’s geared toward a more mature audience. This film has more dramatic turns of events and peril than any of the other Pixar films, and partial nudity, which seems extremely out of place for a Disney cartoon.
Another giant leap forward for the Pixar team was their computer graphics team. As I said before, they were fantastic. The Pixar team took six years making this film, and it REALLY showed. Originally, their plan was to have a snow-covered setting, but after a consultant left, that plan was changed into lush, green foliage, which really made a better, more visually pleasing movie. They even had to design new software simply to animate Merida’s hair. ( I used to think my sister’s hair was unreasonable.)
“Brave” had me laughing, and others in the theater crying, which was more than I expected when I first sat down, and I walked away with valuable life lessons, such as the strength of family bonds, and that Scottish vikings HATE bears. Although it is a huge difference from what Pixar films are known for, it has its own charm that makes it endearing, and I would recommend this film for audiences of all ages.
“Brave” is rated PG for some scary action (animal violence, swordplay, and peril) and rude humor (some scatological humor, and two scenes of partial nudity in which bare butts are breifly shown.)