Despite Pixar’s pairing with Disney, the digital animation studio has managed to stay out of the arena of the Disney Princess. Pixar almost distanced themselves from the familiar fairytale style films of the Disney empire to usher in a new age of computer wizardry to tell different stories. 17 years after ‘Toy Story’, Pixar have finally found their princess in ‘Brave’ and she’s a welcome addition to the family.
Set in the medieval Scottish highlands, Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is reaching the age where she must be married according to family traditions. Determined to make her own path she defies her clan and the consequences put the kingdom in danger.
Pixar prove once again that they are the masters of digital animation. The lush Scottish environment is beautiful and each character is animated with cute little quirks. Princess Merida’s amazing red hair alone is an excellent technical achievement as it flows with life and vibrancy.
While ‘Brave’ is missing some of the humour cinemagoers have become familiar with in Pixar films, it more than makes up for it with heart. The plot is a sweet tale of the relationship between a mother and daughter that doubles as a celebration of womanhood. The team of directors that includes Mark Andrews, Brenda Champman and Steve Purcell, clearly contrast the differences between men and women. The men are comical brutes obsessed with battle and reliving former glories while the women are elegant, smart and sophisticated. Merida is a strong independent character and a far cry from the princesses who only live to serve their prince charming. She’s the Princess Leia or Ellen Ripley of the Pixar universe. It’s a great gift to young women in particular, and their mothers.
Macdonald does a superb job giving Merida her voice and it’s a nice partnership with Emma Thompson who plays her mother. Billy Connolly, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd and Craig Ferguson all have a lot of fun with their meathead roles.
‘Brave’ is a wonderful film that manages to meld a little old school Disney princess magic with the brains and technical brilliance of Pixar.
The Popcorn Junkie