I’m a mut by definition. A bit of everything is coursing through my veins, but the heritage I most identify with is Scottish. My last name is Scottish and it’s rumored we are decedents of a royal family past. I have always been interested in Scottish heritage and I won’t lie when I say I have been anxiously waiting for the release of Disney – Pixars Brave since I first heard about it. I was finally going to visit Scotland, if only from my theater seat. Brave appealed to me on so many levels. First, it was about the rough and tough scot’s. Second, It was Pixar’s first female protagonist and she wasn’t just the princess next door. Third, PIXAR AND DISNEY?! Enough said.
Then I saw it – it was the BEST.MOVIE.EVER. created by Disney OR Pixar. I loved it more than Lady and the Tramp, more than Toy Story. I don’t know where to begin and I’m honestly trying to not to fill this page with cliche’s but it was just that good.
Growing up, head strong Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald) found herself at odds with her prim-and-proper mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) and that isn’t helped by the fact that her father, Kind Fergus (Billy Connolly) dotes on Merida as well as their triplet sons. However, Merida and Elinor have never been further apart than when the willful Princess, determined to carve her own path in life, defies her parents and the age – old custom sacred to her land. She vows to compete for her own hand in marriage in order to allow her heart to choose who she will marry.
When her challenge is ignored Merida sets off into the unknown with her trusted steed Angus – determined to change her fate. Guided only by the blue will ‘o the wisps she meets a mysterious old hag, a “wood worker” who grants her a spell that will give her exactly what she wanted..or does it? Dash in a formidable villain, Mor’du, a tale of Four Brothers, a serious inability to communicate and you have one epic adventure. Determined to right the wrong; Merida must mend the bond that pride has torn apart or live with the consequences forever.
As the first female protagonist I felt that it was Disney/Pixar’s responsibility to give us a Princess worthy of the 21st century. They were on the right track with the latest Rapunzel but Merida was a complete bulls eye. Finally I had a princess whose life was no longer complete upon Prince Charming’s arrival. Frankly, she had 4 of them and NONE were good enough. How do you like that, Charming?!
Merida is a Scot thru and thru. She is strong, smart, passionate and determined. She was many things I want my daughter to grow to be but she was not perfect. Like most children she was also childish and sometimes short sighted but really what teenager isn’t occasionally? It’s just one of the things that makes Brave relateable on every level.
So many mothers could relate to the tense Mother-Daughter relationship between Elinor and Merida and while I could relate I identified more with the Father-Daughter relationship between Merida and King Fergus. It was the relationship I had with my dad and the one I see developing between my 2 year old and her daddy. Because Merida is first born her father treats her as daddy’s girl but also as one of the boys. She knows how to do things better than most men (including her suitors) but she also is feminine enough that they turn to putty in her hands.
Like Merida, her triplet brothers were smart but they have a wee bit of wickedness sprinkled on top. They were into so much mischief that I found myself thinking “Oh No!” every time I saw them scamper off. Sure enough, some hilarious misfortune would befall someone shortly after. I remember one scene in particular, it was the first peep I had heard from the kids except for laughter, and boy did it set them off! I remember one little girl in particular was in complete shock at what the twins had done and she let her mother know very loudly what silly little boys they were.
Pixar’s amazing CG animation topped anything I had ever seen before. It seemed like everything was living, breathing, moving. I could see each strand of frizzy hair on top of Merida’s carrot top head. The landscape as bold and beautiful and everything I imagine Scotland to be. What really made my heart ache to be there (even more than the characters fabulous Scottish burrs) was the beautifully lilting Gaelic score. It said what words could not and did something for the story I could not describe.
The movie theater was filled with people raging in age from 2 to 50 and I must say everyone enjoyed themselves. As I sat listening to the chatter amongst the crowd at the end of the movie it seemed that everyone found something or someone they related to in Brave. All of the characters and the relationships between them had such amazing depth how could they not relate? Disney and Pixar created the most epic adventure of all and I can’t wait to see Brave again and again!
Try to arrive early, I know I know – this means you have to watch the previews but I promise the short story movie “La Luna” from Pixar makes it all worth it. This short story tugs at your heart and is also somewhat of a foreshadowing of Brave. :) Just take my word for it and see it.