By Julie Terrone
The Disney movie BRAVE opens in theaters today, Friday, June 22. The story takes place during the 10th century in the highlands of Scotland; it is a computer-animated fantasy adventure film, with some humor. It was a pleasure to see this movie with my 6 ½ year old daughter, since it is about the bond and relationship between a mother and a daughter — but it will be entertaining for boys and men too! “Brave” does break new ground by being the first Pixar film to feature a female protagonist whose mindset is “Challenge tradition and change your fate.” (Read more after the jump)The Characters:
Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) is very much her father’s daughter; happy to be roaming free and is as wild as her untamed “big” red hair. All she wants to do is shoot her bow and ride off on her very large Clydesdale Argus and have her freedom.
King Fergus (Billy Connolly) is an enormous warrior who stomps around on a wooden leg due to a encounter with the demon bear Mor’du. Even though he is the king, he is mostly a physical protector of the kingdom.
Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), is the pulled-together proper mother, who is very much the mind behind the throne.
Three, little rascally, younger brothers, who enjoy playing tricks on everyone, but do step up and help Merida in her times of need.
The Queen is constantly on Merida’s back, always reminding her daughter to act more like the lady of high birth instead of the wild child that she really is. The Queen does not like that her daughter shoots weapons. “A princess,” she says, “does not chortle (snort and laugh gleefully).” Queen Elinor refuses to have back talk and wants Merida to always be striving for perfection, while her daughter yearns to be in charge of her own fate.
The mother-daughter disputes go back and forth and things get worse when the queen decides it’s time for Merida to get betrothed and, for strictly political reasons, marry the son of one of three competing clans. Unhappy with the situation and with the choices of suitors and their fathers — Merida makes a public nuisance of herself and then flees to the forest in a fit.
Whom should Merida chance to meet in the darkest corner of the woods but a witch (Julie Walters) who is trying to play herself off as a Crafty Wood Carver. Merida without any thought insists on a spell that will change her mom and in the process change her own fate.
While the specifics of that spell are best left unrevealed, at this point, the story shows character transformation and growth. Her mother realizes that Merida can take care of herself better in the wild than she thought and Merida teaches her mother how to survive. The daughter realizes the Queen has changed and is willing to listen while she is in her new predicament.
Kids and young adults have a voice and do listen, even though adults do not think that true! By the end, the Queen realizes that her daughter did listen to all the nagging and the stories about the family’s past; she also sees that her daughter has the right to choose when the right time is to get married and who she will love.
This being a Disney film, you can count on everything being right in the end, but for my 6 ½ year old daughter, there were a few scary parts that she did not like. It’s hard not to be affected by the emotional ending of “Brave,” and it was nice to see the characters have a different perspective on their lives at the end.
We were looking forward to seeing this film and were not disappointed. We recommend you see it!
Rating: PG for some scary action and rude humor
Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes
I received an exclusive invitation with 2 passes to attend this advanced screening the night before the movie’s opening date. No other compensation was received.