Brave (2012)

Animation, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters
Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.
Brave offers young audiences and fairy tale fans a rousing, funny fantasy adventure with a distaff twist and surprising depth.
  • Walt Disney Pictures Company:
  • PG Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 22 Jun 2012 Released:
  • 13 Nov 2012 DVD Release:
  • $237.3M Box office:

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Trailer:

Very disappointing3/10
I felt compelled to write a review to counter all the excellent reviews that this movie has received.

It is not excellent, in fact it is dull, celebrates disobedience and feels like two completely different stories taped together to make up the time.

I can't really see the point of the movie, young girls in Scotland today (or the USA or even South Africa)are not forced to marry, in the tenth century when they were it was accepted and not the great drama made out in the movie.

The whole movie reeks of feminist fantasy- wanting to live in a romantic Scottish medieval setting, sorting out mother issues and having modern rules and standards.

I found it disturbing that every male character in the movie was portrayed as at best, big stupid and loving, (King Fergus) at worst violent and evil (the bear). They only males given any intelligence in the movie are the triplets, who are constant thieves, conniving, ruthless, destructive and very small! The basic story and message was if you are a young woman with serious mother issues, don't worry. Do something really nasty to your mother, then say you are really sorry then your mother will change her mind and you can have it all your own way! Don't worry about any men involved as they are too stupid to understand what is going on.

A lot of this I could have forgiven if the movie did not feel so disjointed, and in the second half frankly boring. This is not "How to train your dragon" with a female lead (that would have been great) this is a feminist Disney "Mother bear" done very beautifully by Pixar, with great voice acting but ultimately very unsatisfying.
Disappointed1/10
I love The Incredibles, Up, Shrek, Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Despicable Me and Megeaman. I thought I was going to see something that amazing, but with a female protagonist. But no. It was the same old Disney princess movie: a princess having problems about who she is or is not going to marry. We saw that in Snow White, Seeping Beauty, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid. Apparently, that all females ever do: fret about who they are going to marry.

Spoiler alert.

The movie starts out great: funny characters, great scenery, Scottish accents, and a promising protagonist. I'm sucked in and expecting something amazing and interesting, like the other Pixar movies. Then, of course, since it is the Dark Ages (and Disney, not "really" Pixar), the hand of the princess will be the prize in a contest. Been there, done that. Of course she doesn't want that, so she runs away and finds a witch and asks the witch to change her . . . her . . . fate? Like the trailers said? No. She wants to change her MOM. The princess does not want to grow and mature, she want's mom to quit bugging her. Mom has done everything she can to give the princess a wonderful life and educate and prepare her for a life of queen-ship. But that's not what the princess wants. The princess wants – what? She really has no viable alternative. It's not like she can go and get a career. The movie implies that if she gets married, she can't ride her horse or shoot her bow any more. Why not? So they parade out the three husband candidates and of course, even though they are the sons of great chieftains, they are all worthless. Predictable, boring plot. What if one of them was handsome, charming, and a good archer, then she might not have minded getting married and we could have seen the wedding in 3D.

Back to the witch. Well, the witch only knows ONE spell: change it into a bear. That's a big help. The last person who bucked conformity and wanted to do his own thing, he got changed into a wild, destructive bear too. Is that one of the lessons in this movie? Conform or you will become a wild, destructive, shunned animal? When her mother eats the magic cake and begins to feel sick, all the princess can think about is if she still has to get married. What if the magic cake killed her mom? The princess doesn't seem too worried. Is this one of the lessons of the movie? If your parents are trying to do the very best for you, and it's cramping your style, just drug them to get them off your back. After mom turns into a bear, there was no plot any more. It was just running around like Bugs, Daffy and Elmer in the forest and the castle until it was time for the movie to end. BORING.

Then there was the big speech the princess gave in the banquet room about "Can't we all just get along?" What was that about? Everyone was partying and getting along just fine. Lame.

So the princess cries and tells mom that she's sorry (of course she is now that everything's a mess), and mom turns back into a person. But who has the character arc? Not the princess. The princess still does not want to get married. MOM is the one who changes, and she had better! After all, she knows that if she leans too hard on her daughter to do what's best, the daughter will drug her. So is that the lesson in the movie? Don't pressure your kids to do what you know is best for them, or they could get punitive. So mom caves in and says the young people can chose by falling in love. There's a ground-breaking moral. News flash: western women have not been getting betrothed for centuries.

And why did they call the movie "Brave". The Princess didn't do anything brave in the whole movie. In fact, she had a hissy fit, ran from her responsibilities, and turned to drugs to solve the problems.

I don't care if it was 6 years in the making, or how amazing the 3D effects were: the story was a dud.
Brave has little Heart5/10
I knew Brave was in trouble from the first few words spoken in voice over as the film began. Merida (Kelly Macdonald) uses the words "fate" and "destiny" interchangeably. This muddle is at the heart of the film's problem.

What's the difference between fate and destiny? Philosophers through the ages have distinguished the two based on choice. Fate is something that happens TO you. Destiny is something that happens BECAUSE of you.

Fate is at the root of such words as "fatal" and "fatalistic." It implies LACK of choice. Philosopher Rollo May says fate is what we are born into, something that cannot be changed and that we have no control over, such as race.

May says destiny is what we create based on what we were given. Destiny is all about CHOICE. It's what we choose to do with what we have.

Merida is born a princess. She can't change that. Her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), is grooming Merida for a role as future queen. After a long series of wars King Fergus (Billy Connolly) has united the four clans. Merida's duty is to help keep the clans unified though a judicious marriage.

Merida is a wild rebellious child with special talent as a rider and archer. The demonstrations of her skills are absolutely breathtaking. She is unique and extraordinary and initially looks very much like a Power of Idealism character.

These kinds of characters are driven by their passion. They abhor what they consider to be a mundane, boring, or mediocre life. They want to seize some grand destiny that is uniquely theirs.

Well-drawn female protagonists in this vein are: Paikea (Keisha Castle-Hughes) in Whale Rider and Jess Kaur Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) in Bend it Like Beckham. Unlike Paikea or Jess, Merida doesn't fight for what she believes is HER destiny. Merida, instead, decides to change her mother! Perhaps this is because Merida has no clue about what she is really called to do.

Now the story gets even muddier. With the help of an old witch's spell Merida does indeed change her mother — into a bear.

Instead of figuring out who she is and what she uniquely is called to do, Merida must again deal with who her mother is. In the struggle over the middle part of Brave, Queen Elinor becomes the protagonist.

The definition of a protagonist, in my book, is the person who makes the biggest emotional sacrifice in the story. It is the person who undergoes the most profound transformation. This is clearly Elinor on every front.

Queen Elinor is a Power of Conscience character. She is a strict and demanding taskmaster, a perfectionist, and is driven by a strong sense of tradition and duty. Over the course of the story she recognizes her daughter's uniqueness and fully appreciates Merida for who she is.

The first important glimpse of Elinor's change of heart is the brawl in the great hall after Merida has disappeared. When Merida strides back into the hall it is Elinor who puts words in Merida's mouth. Elinor speaks through her surrogate about going against tradition and marrying for love. It is Elinor who makes an eloquent plea for choice and following one's heart. Merida is just her passive interpreter. At the end of the film Elinor is willing to sacrifice her own life in a battle with the ancient cursed bear, who one would assume, was the monster who took off her husband's leg. Or not? Who knows?

Even more confusingly this monster turns out to be the legendary brother, it would seem, who destroyed the ancient kingdom so long ago because of his pride and selfishness. How how did he turn into a bear? Was it mother love or something else that breaks his curse?

When a legend and curse is set up so carefully it should have a pay-off having to do with Merida or her destiny– if the film is really about Merida.

And what does Merida do that is so brave? She scurries around looking for the witch's house after her mother turns into a bear. She stitches up (with big clumsy childish stitches) the tapestry she slashed separating her from her mother. She does a lot of running away and running around. She is ineffective in battling the monstrous cursed bear. And she collapses in tears remembering her mother's loving kindness as the second sunrise threatens to make her mother's bear curse permanent. In other words, she acts like a child– or worse a girl.

At the end of the film, Elinor has changed but not Merida. Merida is the same galloping wild child as she was in the beginning. It is a sinking back into carefree childhood rather than striding toward an adulthood based both on duty and and an individualistic sense of self. If you are a young woman, what is the lesson here?

Brave offers no alternative vision of how Merida might help unify the clan in some way that is uniquely hers. It provides a very unsatisfying resolution. How has Merida changed or grown? What happens when King Fergus and Queen Elinor are too old to rule? What is Merida's role going forward? What exactly is her destiny?

For the full review go to my website ETBscreenwriting.
Beautiful looking film that doesn't match the quality of story3/10
This film is very beautifully done, the artists, great job. The storyline was terrible. It was another balled up Disney movie that seemed like it was just trying to fit in every single cliche and Disney trademark as it could. It starts as it should, epic.

Then out of nowhere the epic Celtic music begins and the female vocals come in. I immediately wanted to leave. The girl I was with, also seemed exhausted with this as well. It didn't need that, it made the film go from really cool to chick flick.

Little did I know, it was going to get worst. The trailer explained the movie as a hero rising, and the changing of fate. Who doesn't like that. So she rides off mad at her mom, finds a witch and requests her fate to be changed. She is granted her wish and her mom is turned into a bear. Yes, a bear. So the entire movie, basically is the main girl trying to mend her moms relationship and turn her back into a human. Well, that's not hard, because the love is already there. She basically apologizes and is sad about everything. and obviously, in the nick of time, the sun, which could consequently keep her a bear, shines light on the two and magically she turns back into a human (which isn't as cool as I'm making it seem). The plot was a total deviation from the trailer, it made no sense, and it was more for little kids than the usual Pixar film, which for the most part is usually made for a wide audience.

After the film, I couldn't leave fast enough. I hope people enjoy the film, I just didn't. Nor would I recommend seeing it.

I was throughly disappointed, but I'm curious on what others think. So feel free to email me at ryanhartford86@yahoo.com
Great Animation, not so great story3/10
Animation is spectacular, great setting in the Scottish Highlands. Voice acting is above par. However, this movie is not among the top Pixar films, by far. I felt the sickening presence of Disney all over the film -- weird politically correct preaching, overdone action scenes, and generally random and weird plot.

The story is really disappointing. What exactly makes her 'BRAVE'?? They should have named the movie 'PETULANT'. She's selfish, and the entire plot is about how she can get out of the results of her selfishness while remaining selfish. The magic feels out of place, lots of wasted scenes, and the whole bear thing was just plain annoying after a while.

Not a lot of funny moments, and generally boring! I was really looking forward to this movie, and I did not like it.