Pixar Studios have been flawless as far as making hits and classic films that both kids and adults love and cherish. Whether it be for the Toy Story franchise or Incredibles or yes, even the mixed crowd of Cars fans, you gotta love Pixar. Their newest is Brave, what is being labeled as their first fairy tale and that is definitely what this is... to an extent. Not much else is being said about the film, but there are many moviegoers curious to see what this tale is all about.
So does it hit the mark? Yeah yeah, I said it...
The story is all about Merida, a young, but very headstrong princess who is armed with a bow and arrow and spirit that knows no bounds. Her parents, King Fergus and Queen Elinor, want her to follow in the royal Scottish tradition as they have selected three possible suitors to unite the kingdom. Merida just wants to be her own person and because of this, she constantly clashes with Elinor and creates chaos for all of the kingdom. Merida runs away and it wouldn't be a fairy tale without Merida finding... a witch. I won't spoil anything after that!
First off, Merida. What a great character. So strong and determined, she is really a great character for the young girls. Voiced by Kelly MacDonald (HBO's Boardwalk Empire), this powerful lass with the bright red hair shows she is still young in her manner of speaking, but her actions show she's her own individual and not one to be messed with. Definitely not your typical Disney princess and that's a good thing!
Fergus and Elinor, played by Billy Connelly and Emma Thompson, do an exceptional job as King and Queen parents, especially Thompson. Fergus is a gentle giant king, willing to protect his family and kingdom but he'll definitely have a good time while doing it too, while Elinor is the serious, by-the-book queen but is also the heart of both the family and all of their traditions.
The suitor families, with one of the fathers being voiced by the always funny Craig Ferguson, are just a part of the comic relief to the film. Any time the fathers and their kids appear, you can't help but chuckle at their silliness. Merida's little brothers, the Triplets, are the stars here, however. What the Minions were to Despicable Me, is what these boys were to this movie. Adorable little mischief makers that you can't help but love... but you definitely don't want to be trapped in a room with them!
The animation is worth noting as well. Beautiful work by the people at Pixar, with the most noticeable upgrades being the environmental visuals (the forest, waterfalls, castle) and every bit of strand of hair on Merida. You can tell the improvements here as everyone had strand upon strand of hair and not just a block formed to look like hair, but hers... wow.
Now, the bad. The twist that happens in the film, I've been told, put off some people. It may not be what you are expecting, unless you've seen every single ad or clip for this movie, which I DO NOT ADVISE! The twist had me doubting halfway in and kind of took me out of it for a bit, but if you go in head-first and give it a chance like I did, you will have a great time in the end.
Fun characters, not-your-average-princess story, stunning animation, and a really great message about family, "Brave" is another solid film from Pixar. Not their best yet, however, but one you really shouldn't miss.