Disney’s Pixar does it again! Traveling to the breathtaking Scottish countryside, Pixar brings us a story about growing up, the unbreakable bonds of family, and discovering your own fate.
Brave is a story about Princess Merida, voiced by Kelly Macdonald, a young girl who loves archery and is as adventurous and free-spirited as her thick mane of kinky, curly red hair. As Merida gets older, her mother, Queen Elinor, voiced by Emma Thompson, expects her to give up her life of exploring the countryside and practicing her archery to marry a young man from one of the neighboring clans and become a lady. Merida rebels against these age-old customs and traditions and causes chaos in her kingdom when she refuses to follow along the path that her mother has prepared for her. After consulting a witch for help, her family becomes cursed and Merida is forced to race against time to undo the spell before it is too late.
One of the best parts of the movie for me was the fact that it was set in such a different world than the other Pixar movies that have been made. Set in the highlands of 10th century Scotland, Disney expertly incorporated ancient Scottish folklore to introduce their audience to a world that is truly magical and full of culture. One example of this is the imagery of the will-o’-the-wisp throughout the movie. In the first scene, Merida’s father, King Fergus of Clan DunBroch, presents her with a bow for her birthday. As Merida runs into the woods, elated with her new gift and eager to begin practicing, she has her first encounter with the legendary will-o’-the-wisp, a ghostly light that travelers have claimed to see at night, often over bogs or marshes. Legend says that these flickering lights will lead you on a path of safety.
Although this movie would be perfect for a child of any age, I noticed that there were a couple of scenes containing violence and action that I believe would terrorize younger children younger than five. Most of the violence involved the bear Mor’du, who was a prince from one of Queen Elinor’s legends that was magically transformed into a bear from the same spell that the witch gave Merida to use on her mother. So maybe in the case of really young children, use discretion in deciding whether or not your child, younger sibling, or child that you babysit will be easily frightened or scared by light violence and scary bear fight scenes with Mor’du.
I went to see this movie while I was on vacation with my family and, characteristic of Disney, it is an entertaining and heartwarming family film filled with laughs and deeper life lessons that touch your heart. All of my family really enjoyed it, including my sixteen year old brother, which is always a struggle when it comes to family films. What I love about Disney Pixar films is that beneath the humorous characters and brilliant scenes of Scottish landscape that leave children entertained and enthralled in the story, there is always a deeper meaning that only older children and adults can pick up on and relate to. Interestingly, as I was watching the movie, I felt that I could more easily relate to the story than a younger child. The lesson of the movie that seemed the most touching to me was about not letting one’s pride or difference in opinion break important bonds in your life with people you love. I feel that older children or young adults could relate more to this message, since many of us are in a time in our lives when we sometimes feel the need to rebel and disagree with our parents, convinced that we know more about what is best for us. The heartwarming story of how Merida and her mother resolved their differences and formed an even stronger bond inspired me to reflect on my own relationships and interactions with my parents, and helped me appreciate them even more.
I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone, and would definitely recommend seeing it with your family or younger children. Even though it seems to be a children’s movie, Disney’s Pixar films always have a way of touching you in ways that you weren’t expecting. But clearly the Scottish accents made the movie.