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August 24, 2012
Throughout history, the role of the princess has been pivotal in the construct of fairy tales and folklore. Men will fight against the odds to achieve wealth and power, but somehow the battle to save the princess seems to be the story that many writers and film makers want to capture. However, in recent years, it has become more common for the princess to actually fight for herself, to achieve her own dreams and not have to be rescued by some Prince Charming. Disney Pixar’s, Brave is a prime example of this new wave of warrior princesses in animated films, which show that girls can stand on their own two feet and fight for their own lives.
Merida (voice by Kelly Macdonald) is a young, feisty red-haired princess from Scotland whose wit, know how, and skills with a bow and arrow allow her to freely roam her homeland without any fear of danger along the way. Unfortunately her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) wants her to fulfil her proper role as a princess and become married to a young man from one of her father’s allied clans. Wanting to live her own life and not abide by her mother’s wishes, Merida searches for a way for her mother to change and is led to a cottage in the middle of the forest which is inhabited by The Witch (Julie Walters). The Witch, in exchange for some riches, casts a spell that may change Queen Elinor forever, but not in the way that Merida expected.
Brave is a heart warming tale of self discovery and reconciliation between families. The scenery alone was enough to capture my attention as I have often admired the Scottish Highlands and the stories that it holds. The characters were sometimes stereotypical to the point of annoyance, but names and features aside, they still managed to be likeable and enjoyable to watch, especially Merida’s three younger brothers.
However, my problem with the film lies in the changing of Queen Elinor, as I found from that point onwards, the story became rather too folklore for me. I felt that I would like to have seen something happen that was a bit more sustainable as an interesting plot point rather than being ridiculous just for the sake of it. The bonding between Merida and her mother was still believable enough to justify the change happening, but the change itself just didn’t really let the film go as deep as it could have gone.
Needless to say, Brave is predominantly targeted for family viewing, and kids and parents alike will definitely enjoy going to see this together. The humour again is stereotypically Scottish; however it still managed to take me by surprise just how much a mooning man in a kilt made me laugh. I also think that Merida stands as a good role model for our younger generation and shows that their main aim in life should be to just be themselves (and kick some ass!)