Pixar is back on top where they belong with “Brave,” the tale of Princess Merida who is determined to make her own path in life. This Scottish-themed story is not your usual Disney princess story. In fact, there isn’t even a love interest for the girl. The movie is also quite different from other Pixar films as well. It has a feel closer to “Up” rather than, say, “Cars.” It is funny, thrilling and sweet. As a bonus, there is a huge twist in the middle of the story which will really keep you guessing on how the story will end.
Merida (Kelly Macdonad) is a head-strong princess who begins to butt heads with her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) in her teenage years. Elinor just wants her daughter to act like a lady, but Merida would rather ride her horse through the woods and shoot targets with her bow and arrow. At the same time, her father Fergus (Billy Connolly) is hosting an age-old custom with three Lords of the land. Each brings with them a son who is eager to win the hand of the princess. Merida sets out to defy the ritual games and causes an uproar in the process.
“Brave” is a beautiful film to look at and refreshing to watch. It features an imperfect royal family: the strong warrior father, the uptight, “everything must be just so” mother, three unruly younger brothers and a tomboy of an older sister.
The Pixar team has created sophistication out of a simple story. Yes, there is action and adventure, but when you boil it down, it is really a story about a mother and daughter. And this isn’t just a movie for girls. Boys will love it too – really. The film plays out differently than what it looks like in the trailers. Merida does have to be brave in this story, but not in the way you would think. Here is a mini-spoiler: she has to be brave enough to admit that she was prideful and did something that was wrong. It gives an extra dose of realism to the fictional story and something many parents will be happy about. Though "Brave" isn't a "Christian" story, it can help provide plenty of conversation-starters on your ride home.
“Brave” does have some scary moments, so be careful about bringing very little ones. Though there is witch and magic featured in the film, it is downplayed for the most part and can be treated as an allergory when talking to your children, much like C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe."