With the recent release of COCO (OMG by the way, such a brilliant movie), I got into thinking about Pixars other huge hits (lets ignore Cars 2, I don’t care how popular that film was, it was awful…). It’s hard to have a favourite with all the great, emotional tales pixar has explored but I’d have to say that Brave is my number one.
If you are unfamiliar with the story of Brave, it follows the life of Merida, in the bonny land of Scotts, as she prepared to meet her suitors (cue a lot of Princess Jasmine vibes). In typical Disney fashion, Merida isn’t thrill with the idea of marriage and following an argument with her mother, Queen Eleanor, she rides into the woods, stumbling upon a chain of Will O’ the Wisps (cue Pacman vibes) which lead her to a witches cottage. The witch gives Merida a cake which will ‘change her fate’ when Queen Eleanor eats it. Unfortunately for our hero, the witch forgets to pre-warn Merida how to revert the spell, only to later leave a riddle “Fate be changed, look inside, mend the bond torn by pride”. Back at the castle, Merida presents the cake to her mother who willingly takes a bite before suddenly becoming unwell. In the Queens bedroom, the cake’s spell begins to have an effect and Boom! Queen is a bear! Duh, duh, duhhhhh! I’m not joking, that’s seriously what happens. The rest of the movie revolves around turning Queen Eleanor back into a human. Along the way, Merida’s three brothers also turn into bears after eating the remainder of the cake so there’s a lot of bear action.
Now, I love this movie, I really do. It carries a huge sense of culture and tradition tied with beautiful music and animation. It feels Scottish which adds a huge impact as there aren’t too many films set in Scotland. Most people will think of a certain movie featuring Mel Gibson and his infamous ‘Is he Scottish? Is he American?’ accent. Another thing I admire are the characters design. They are much more proportional compared to previous Disney characters. You could say this is down to Pixars involvement but then I’d remind you that Andy’s face in Toy Story was almost concave. Merida’s design does sway more towards the typical Disney princess with her small chin and long, slender neck but her body and eyes are much more realistic. The movie also has amazing colour. Merida’s firer red hair creates a pleasant contrast against the dark, wet landscape. It’s a very nice, warm feeling.
OK, now for the bad stuff. Where do I begin? The trailer? OK, lets start with the trailer… Oh god, the trailer. Actually, that’s unfair, the first trailer itself was great. Simple, captivating and just enough information to leave you wanting more. Except IT WAS TOTALLY MISLEADING! The trailer makes you believe that archery, a sport Merida enjoys very much, plays a huge part in the movie. But it doesn’t. Yet the bear’s that the whole story revolves around are only briefly mentioned. I get that trailers don’t want to give away the whole movie otherwise there would be no point spending your money to go see them but they are meant to give the viewers an idea of the plot. There would be no point in a horror movie showing you sandy beaches and sunny skies if that was only 5% of the actual film There would be a lot of horrified people in that audience. But hey, maybe I’ve interpreted it wrong. I just feel mislead. If I hadn’t watched a trailer for Brave first, I’d have probably enjoyed the movie a lot more.
That’s enough on the trailer but it does lead me into my next little rant, which is the bear plot. Now, remember I said this was my favourite Pixar movie and I stand by that because as a whole, the story is fun and carries itself nicely along. The thing is, there was another movie by Disney about a human turning into a bear released 9 years before Brave. Anyone remember Brother Bear? Another movie I really enjoyed but unfortunately didn’t do so well at the box office. Brother Bear is about three brothers. One is killed trying to take on a bear. The youngest brother, Kenai, tries to get revenge, kills the bear and ends up turning into one himself. He befriends a bear cub and they go on an adventure to find the cubs mother.
Brave and Brother Bear have so many similarities. From the species changing, to the magic, they both even have baby bears involved some point. I have to question whether it was pure coincidence or a conscious ploy to revive a bear themed story. It’s like Spider-man all over again! Why bears anyway? And why bears in Scotland? It made sense in Brother Bear as Kenai and his crew were based in Alaska, where grizzly bears are common. A quick google search reveals there are no wild bears in Scotland and no suggestion there has ever been. That is poor research, Disney.
So, to conclude, Brave, I love you, very much but you are just a fancy CGI body on top of an underrated movie. But who am I to judge? I write blogs…