Directed by Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, and Steve Purcell
Brave is Pixar's first original non-sequel film since Up back in 2009. It's also Pixar's first female protagonist, and the first character from Pixar to be feature in the Disney Princess line. So it's a little bit of a first in many way.
I remember first seeing the trailer and realizing that it wasn't telling me very much about what was going to happen in the film (besides that Merida would "fight for my own hand!") so I came into the movie not really expecting anything at all, though I had heard the bears were pretty prominent. So, sitting down in the theatre I was expecting an pretty funny, predictable, mother-daughter movie. Which I got, but it was a lot more funny, a lot less predictable (though still predictable), and a lot of mother-daughter.
As you've all heard, Merida's hair is pretty much worth the price of admission. If you go only to see her hair, that's a pretty good reason. Her hair is beyond cool, especially in the scenes of her as a young girl. Additionally, her three younger brothers were infinitely hilarious, always causing mischief and are so adorable. Her father is hilarious and fun-loving too. However, the mother-daughter relationship is what guides this movie along. Merida is constantly exasperated at her mother, telling her a princess does this, a princess doesn't do that and Merida is frustrated to the max when 3 other clans arrive, with 3 suitors trying to win her hand. Merida does not want to get married. After shooting for her own hand at the archery competition, Merida's mother Elanor has had it. Her daughter is reckless and unladylike and embarassing. The two fight and Merida finds herself in a witches cottage, and with a spell to change her mother. But in a way that Merida doesn't expect.
The movie took a turn at this point which I didn't see coming, but is altogether interesting, though was a bit cheesy at first, but came into it's own and played it's part in the mother-daughter bonding thing really well. While it doesn't hit older audiences as much as the Toy Story movies did, Brave has some great lessons for young children about the importance of having a good relationship with your mother. The two of you may be at odds all the time, but you need to listen to each other if either of you want to get anywhere.
Additionally, the visuals and the score were completely amazing in this movie. While it probably would've been best to see it in 3D (which I didn't), it was still brilliantly gorgeous. And usually I'm not a big fan of Patrick Doyle, but I absolutely loved the score he did.
While many have said it doesn't have the brilliance of past Pixar movies, doesn't hit older audiences as well as younger ones, and plays it a little safe, I say that you shouldn't go into this movie expecting any of these things. They're all very true, but if you're expecting this movie not to be the next Finding Nemo, Toy Story or Up, you'll be vastly disappointed. However, this was something I expected, and knew from the beginning. It was a warrior princess movie which involved mothers, archery and bears, and the importance of listening to your parents. And while it doesn't have the things of what made Monsters Inc and the original Cars so good, Brave has it's own qualities to love about it. And that's how Brave should be viewed, a medium of it's own, not in comparison to other Pixar movies. Brave had some extremely hilarious moments, some mischevious little boys, some awesome red hair, cool Scottish accents, and a strong-willed young woman who learns about changing her fate. Brave is a story of its own. And while not brilliant, it was definitely worth watching, and will be worth watching again.
Overall, I liked the movie. It wasn't the worlds best animated movie, it was just good, and had a lot of laughs and adorableness coming from the three younger brothers, little Merida, Merida's hair, and the appearance of some very small cute bears. It was a fun movie, with awesome accents and nice to look at. We're not looking at a masterpiece here, but it's definitely a nice family movie, and great for fairytale fans. Does it have the chance to bring back Pixar to the Best Picture race? Honestly, I'd say no. While Brave was great, not everyone liked it enough, nor was it brilliant enough, I thought. It's definitely going to be a contender in Best Animated Feature, Best Score and Best Original Song.