Brave is an animated adventure-fantasy film set in the highlands of medieval Scotland. Brave was produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures on June 22nd, 2012. It is the animation studio’s first film with a female protagonist. Brave was directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman. The movie’s voice cast consists of Billy Connolly, Craig Ferguson, Emma Thompson and Julie Walters to name a few, as the trademark Scottish accent is heavily used to extrapolate the movie.
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Brave displays great acts of heroism and valor, applauding the strength of a female a character and showing the importance of family alongside it. The movie features a headstrong princess named Merida who is determined to resist sacred aged customs. In doing so, she comes across a witch who grants her an unfortunate wish which forces her into fatal peril. Merida is then faced with the challenge of undoing the treacherous curse which if not reversed can cause permanent damage to her family. She embarks on a courageous journey of finding the true meaning of bravery and love.
Merida is characterized by her unruly red hair and they, like her, refused to be tamed. The opposite of a typical feminine stereotype, Merida invites the theme of women empowerment to the movie. It also portrays a strong mother-daughter relationship and the outlook of a healthy family. Though the dynamics of the family are hindered due to Merida’s pride and refusal to be ordered, the ending of the movie is redeemed as the miscommunication and disapproval is surpassed by love, loyalty, and forgiveness.
Brenda Chapman, writer and director, has drawn much inspiration for the movie from her own relationship with her the daughter. The movie, also considered a fairytale, is set loosely in the tradition of Danish writer, Hans Christian Andersen and German duo, Brothers Grimm.
The original soundtrack, also named Brave, is composed by Patrick Doyle and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. To stay true to Scotland’s traditional music, Doyle used Celtic instruments to make it authentic. He also composed several other songs for the film, such as the lullaby duet between Merida and her mother, and the drinking song, Song of Mor’du. The movie also features three other original songs, Learn Me Right written by Mumford & Sons and performed with Birdy, and Touch the Sky and Into the Open Air, both performed by Julie Fowlis.
Just like any movie, Brave too has had to face its share of criticism. The movie has been widely declared to be boring and uninteresting, and severely lacking in humor. It has been accused of being poor in delivery of dialogue and overall just jarringly bland. Some have gone as far as saying that Brave has failed to be an icon of female empowerment and many have questioned why it took Pixar this long to produce a movie with a female lead.
Nevertheless, the film has managed to achieve more than a few turns of heads towards it. The plot of the movie remains appealing and could ignite more than a few interesting conversations amongst the viewers, as Merida embarks on a journey, not to find the love of her life, but to save the love that means much more.