Friday, June 29, 2012

Theater Review: Brave

It seems odd, doesn't it? That the first Pixar film came out in 1995 and this is the first film that features a female protagonist. But, 2012 appears to be the year of the female action star - with The Hunger Games and Avengers already succeeding.

So, Pixar has given us Brave a film set in Scotland and we are introduced to Merida (Kelly Macdonald) a princess with very large, wild red hair. She is the daughter of Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Elinor (Emma Thompson).

At a young age her father gave her a bow and arrow and she was immediately hooked. As she grew up she loved heading out and shooting at targets.

But, she was also a lady and her mother was grooming her to be the princess she was born to be. She is to be fought over by the three first-born sons of the allied friends of Fergus. Being able to choose how the sons fight for her, she chooses archery.

Merida wants nothing to do with her suitors, so she rushes off into the woods and comes across a small hut with an older lady inside who appears to be a wood carver, but she is holding a secret - she's actually a witch. Merida asks that a spell be cast to get her mother off of her back - so she can changer her fate.

The film is basically a mother-daughter tale. A mother who is forcing her daughter to do something she is not ready for, mostly because of a silly tale the kingdom believes in. And, the daughter who wants to remain a free spirit and begins to pull away from her mother for making her do what she doesn't want.

Brave fits perfectly into the Pixar format. A great tale with a ton of heart and lots of comedy sprinkled throughout. The comedy for the most part comes from Merida's father and his three allied partners, MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane) and MacIntosh (Craig Ferguson) - and their sons. Plus, Fergus and Elinor have three, young triplet sons who never talk, but do a ton of hilarious things throughout the film.

Is Brave the new standard for Pixar? Absolutely not. But, it fits in nicely - probably around the middle. I love the fact that they continue to try new things - when Toy Story came out it was said hair was one of the most difficult things to create. But, here it looks amazing and you get a lot of it.

Plus, it is great that they finally came out with a female-led film. Pixar has had some great female characters over the years (Jessie, Dory, Elastigirl and Violet) but none of them were ever really the main character. Here, Merida is the focal point and it's wonderful.


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