A Scottish princess fights for her right to not be betrothed to the son of another clan and learns a lot about herself and her family in the Pixar film, “Brave.” Merida is the daughter of Fergus and Eleanor, the leaders of their clan. It’s time for her, as the eldest daughter, to be married to the eldest son of one of the other clans. But Merida would rather fish and hunt and be one of the guys rather than do the things a princess must do. After meeting a witch, she inadvertently turns her mother, and her brothers, into a bear. She must go on a mission to protect her mother and turn her back into a woman, and maybe even heal another rift along the way.
This is Pixar’s only foray into the stories of a princess. That’s usually the Walt Disney Animation Studios’ domain. But it’s still an excellent story to tell. In a great irony, the Walt Disney Animation Studios film released the same year, “Wreck-It Ralph,” looks more like a Pixar film than a Disney film. I don’t know why the two studios changed styles for that year, but both excelled with the films they made that year.
So, this is a story about a young princess who longs to be part of another world and works out a deal with a witch. Meanwhile, because of her actions, her mother is turned into a bear. It’s like “The Little Mermaid” meets “Brother Bear,” set in the Scottish Highlands. It’s far from original, but the more stories you tell, the more likely it is for some of them to be similar.
Admittedly, this is lower on my personal rankings of Pixar films, but that’s more of statement about how well Pixar has been making films than anything else, because this is an excellent film. At this point, I can only think of one Pixar film that I don’t like, and only two others that are only average, so Pixar has been delivering consistently since 1995.
“Brave” is a lot of fun, and it’s nice to see the Scottish represented in a Disney/Pixar film. Could it be better? Sure. Could it be a lot worse? Absolutely. It’s a fun romp, and that’s really all I ask.