Brave (Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell 2012) USA

Reviewed By Robin Eriksson. Viewed at Santa Barbara Film Festival 2013.

The movie is about Merida, she’s a teenager that adores riding her horse and shot with her bow. She aims for fun. The only burr in her happy life is her mother, Queen Elinor, who wants her to be a lady and polices her behavior accordingly.Practically every day, Elinor trains Merida in the finer points of ladyship: how to stand, how to eat, how to talk, how to walk. She teaches her lute-playing and schools her in the kingdom’s history and geography. “A princess strives for, well, perfection,” Elinor tells her. And only perfection is good enough. The lessons are relentless, and with each new rule, familiar scold and look of disappointment Elinor piles on, Merida feels as if her life’s not her own. That she’s imprisoned in a world of her mom’s making.

Merida is not against marriage entirely (though she sort of is), but she’s certainly not in favor of being forced into doing so. On top of that, once you see the three jokers vying for her hand you too would want to run away, which is exactly what Merida does, deep into the forest where we’ve already seen hints of magic before and will soon see more.

After making her escape on her trusty steed, Merida comes to rest in the middle of some strange Stonehenge-esque structure when she notices a trail of tiny blue flames known as Wisps. She remembers these from her childhood and the story of how they can change a person’s fate, something she most certainly wants to do in her efforts to rebel against her mother.

Brave is a beautiful and competent entry in Disney’s robust fairytale film pedigree, one that is sure to drag younger viewers. Princess Merida will, without question, have no trouble competing alongside iconic heroines like Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, and Ariel, as one of Disney’s best animated leading ladies. Nonetheless, even though Brave is solid from beginning to end, . Ultimately, it’s an easy film to recommend, but for some ardent movie lovers might want to temper their lofty expectations.

 

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