Brave Doesn’t Flex Its Adventure Muscles (but tells a great family story)

 Contains spoilers

I usually try not to include spoiler in my movie reviews because I want readers to be able to enjoy the movie after reading a review. But due to the way that Hollywood are creating trailers, it has become harder not to give away spoilers when talking about plot. Movies like Dark Shadows and Cabin in the Woods (to name a few) not only didn’t clearly portray the plot Dark Shadows didn’t even present the right tone! Disney Pixar’s Brave is the latest movie to keep the actual storyline out of the trailer.

As portrayed by the trailer, Princess Merida prefers horse back riding and archery to needle work and dinner parties. Her mother continues to prime her to be the woman she is expected to be for the kingdom their bickering comes to a climax it is time for the traditional games for Merida’s hand to commence. In an effort to change her fate, she wins the archery tournament claiming she would not marry one of the other tribes. This causes problem with in the kingdoms between the tribes, and Merida’s mother tries to convince her one last time to be make the best decision for the kingdom.

But what happens after the games is left out of the trailer. After escaping the mass commotion caused by her archery win, Merida gets some assistance from a witch–er–wood carver who makes Merida a cake that will change her mom’s mind. Merida offers the cake to Elinor as a peace offering. But instead of changing Elinor’s mind, it magically transforms her into a bear. She and Merida have two sunrises to reverse the spell and change the dynamics of their relationships.

For Disney Pixar’s first lead protagonist, the movie sticks with magic and familial relationship than action. Though you see Merida practice and shoot in the competition she has no Katniss moments of battles. Instead the movie centers on Elinor’s new life as a bear and Merida trying to figure out how to reverse this spell. Humors mother and daughter bond happens of their trek into the wild.

The movie contains many instances of humor that Disney Pixar collaborations have become famous for. The snappy humor that appeals to children and adults helps the movie from becoming too melodramatic. Often when mother and daughter are dealing with their relationship issues, Elinor’s inability to do things the same as a bear lightens the tension. The script deftly deals with issues like fate and familial duties while keeping the viewers enchanted and entertained.

The movie is, of course, visually stunning. Though I didn’t see it in 3-D, the ancient lush lands were vivid and sharp. Merida’s long red hair and arrow quick skills capture the eye. The animators did well with the subtle changing of Elinor’s “human” bear and her “wild” bear. This gives her character three distinct looks capturing her various personalities

Visually stunning, Brave doesn’t pack all the adventure the trailers promised, but the humor and the characters make up for it.