Wednesday, 22 August 2012


So I saw Brave the other day, Pixar's first 'Princess Film'.

As usual, Pixar has maintained its reputation for high animation standards, though in 3D, parts of it was perhaps a little poor. It did not manage fast-speed screen panning.

The Plot is of course well received by internet circles - young girl decides to take it upon herself to compete for her own hand in marriage. None of this marrying which ever heir to a clan can shoot an arrow straightest. Ok, well, that's part of the plot.

Really, what the film is about is the consequences individual pride and stubbornness and tradition can have on the surrounding country.

The mother-daughter rift of misunderstanding is the central theme. It is honestly not an unfamiliar one - the best comparison would be Freaky Friday. You know the one. Mother wants her daughter to be more like her, daughter wants to run wild and free and is kinda a punk by her mother's standards. Then when Mum pushes too far, the daughter pushes back with equal force and they're both intensely upset and something goes wrong for them in order for both to see past each's own desires and to empathise with the other. Except, instead of swapping bodies, as in Freaky Friday, Merida accidentally turns her mother into a bear.

And then the fantastic bear-trying-to-be-a-graceful-human-queen animation ensues! It's touching, hilarious and weirdly normal, all at once.

Naturally, the spell has a chance to be reversed, but they must practice the undo-ing words by the second sunrise. First of which has already passed, of course. So they have 24 hours, pretty much.

In those 24 hours, they discover the truth about the legend of the lost kingdom, the giant bear that ate her father's leg and just barely (hur) get mum back to her human form. They also learn to listen to each other, since bear-mother can't speak properly, and Merida has to interpret her mother's motions and noises. Her mother also has to put her faith and life in Merida's hands, in order to survive her bear shape. (Her husband has a penchant for hunting bears)

The side characters are all delightful - from Merida's huge, boisterous and indulgent father (Billy Connolly), her firm and controlled mother (Emma Thompson) to her three suitors and the witch. Her brothers are voiceless but have big personalities, providing fun capers through the castle and surrounding village/town that are amusing for adults and hilarious fun for smaller members of the audience.

They've even included the Medieval's answer to customer service call lines! (Even my boyfriend laughed at that)

For all the plot's familiarity and relative weakness, the film is well written, with a great script, fantastic score and it is very entertaining. I will be getting it - I do not consider it the same sort of flop as Cars or, some argue, The Incredibles were.

Despite what the critics have said, I still recommend a viewing - it is clearly one that you have to make your own mind up about.

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