Some days you have to roll up your sleeves and be brave.
But also, humble.
Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida confronts tradition and defies an age-old custom that inadvertently unleashes chaos, and forces her to discover the true meaning of bravery.
Brave is an amazing adventure on the most personal of nature. Kelly Macdonald plays Brave's lead, Merida, who is quite the opposite of other princesses, as she likes to ride her horses, stuff her mouth with food and shoot her bow/arrow (quite accurately). Merida has a hard time with accepting her role as a princess. She's got an even more difficult time with accepting the fact that she is going to be married off to a prince she has no interest in.
The tale woven by Pixar's Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman and Steve Purcell really does what other Pixar movies haven't completely done before. It solely focuses on Merida's own internal struggle about what she should be doing as opposed to what she wants to do. She ends up a very selfish character begging for redemption when she finally tips the hat of her mother. Merida, while funny at the beginning, isn't exactly likable after she turns her mother into a ferocious bear. But, the funny thing about this is that she rings true to her nature as a budding young adolescent. Every kid at her perceived age does stupid things for their own selfish reasons. Usually, it ends up hurting the parent. While the film 'literally' hurts Merida's mom, Elinor, it still shows the same type of situation that some kid in the real world would run into in terms of hurting their parents' feelings. That's what makes Brave beautiful and powerful. Although Merida's world is wrapped up in humor (especially her hungry brothers and dad), magic and beautiful landscapes, the feelings and emotions of a young woman are very real to the viewer.
This type of movie may not please everyone who comes to watch it, but it will certainly relate to a good majority of young kids out there. Maybe that's why some critics didn't exactly get the premise, as it wasn't made for them. Sure you can say that about a lot of films, but this one specifically was more direct with its message. My oldest daughters really related to Brave's Merida. The situation and emotions stuck with them better than it stuck with me. That says a lot about how the movie was crafted and churned out. As a parent, I can see why teenage girls would love this film, as it's made for them.
Now, as for the actual film, it really did a great job with balancing the ups/downs of the roller coaster of a story it had built for the audience. You have a good portion of the film getting introduced to Merida, and especially her independence. Then the film shifts to Merida's slip up with her mom and realizing what she had done was a mistake. The last part of the film shows a very methodical and proper change to Merida, concluding with what the viewer truly believes it should be concluded with, which is change and compromise. Overall, the story crafted by Pixar really does hit home with a specific audience. It's done well, animated well and it ends well. It's certainly one of the better Pixar films in the last 5-10 years.
As for how it looks, it's probably the strongest part of the release. With this review release, we received the Ultimate Collector's Edition, which includes the Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy. If you have a 3D capable Blu-ray player and television, and you have kids who are dying to see this film, then you shouldn't hesitate on pulling the trigger for the 3D edition. Quite frankly, it's probably the prettiest 3D film that I've seen to date.
My 3D experience was of the 'passive' nature (not the active). The lush green fields of the film really stood out, as did the wisps and creatures (bears). One of the more amusing scenes in 3D was when Elinor (as the bear) was trying to catch fish jumping upstream. Very clean and crisp looks to the fish as it pops up directly at you. The foreground and background balances with the 3D was well done. I found there to be little to no blurring or double-images occurring in the film. The 3D was quite breathtaking. Animation really does lend well to the format, as it's hard to screw-up 3D when there is no live action. Although, I've seen it done before in other releases. Everything was pretty much perfect in regards to the Blu-ray 3D release.
For the Blu-ray portion of the film, everything was clean and crisp. There wasn't any signs of color banding or problems with color balance as a whole. Again, credit the animation world for getting things right when it comes to maintaining HD balance. Brave's big sell was always visuals and I can guarantee it looks better on this format than what you will find in the theaters. Isn't it funny that the world of home entertainment is slowly becoming the dominant format? Sad, but true. Regardless, if you're expecting an 'epic' looking picture from the Brave release then you're not going to be disappointed.
Finally, as for features (hold onto your hats), here's what to expect:
- La Luna (in 3D)
- The Legend of Mordu
- Brave Old World
- Merida & Elinor
- Brawl in the Hall
- Wonder Moss
- Clan Pixar
- Once Upon a Scene
- Extended Scenes
- Audio Commentary
- Alternate Opening
- Fallen Warriors
- Dirty Harry People
- It Is English… Sort Of
- The Tapestry
- Promotional Pieces
- Art Galleries
Yeah, there's a load of features with this release. Pixar and Disney really did a great job with adding extra value to the Blu-ray release of this film. Especially, La Luna (enjoy that in 3D). It's always nice to see a bit more added, as the price of such things really does warrant it. These are all solid features that truly do extend the life of the Brave release. I can't complain with this list.