I never got around to writing about my thoughts on Pixar’s next film, Brave, after the D23 Expo. The release of an official synopsis allows me to take the opportunity to tell you guys how much I liked what I saw.
First, the synopsis:
Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through the generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland. In “Brave,” a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald) confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts.
Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Witch (voice of Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.
Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and produced by Katherine Sarafian, “Brave” is a grand adventure full of heart, memorable characters and the signature Pixar humor enjoyed by audiences of all ages. The film takes aim at theaters on June 22, 2012, and will be presented in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.
A grand adventure full of heart, memorable characters and signature Pixar humor, “Brave” uncovers a new tale in the mysterious Highlands of Scotland where the impetuous Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald) defies an age-old custom and inadvertently unleashes chaos, forcing her to discover the meaning of true bravery before it’s too late.”
First of all, the film looks lush and gorgeous. The green countryside and forests are amazing, and while the character designs are a touch conventional - this could be the next country over from Tangled - the characters themselves seem interesting.
What I liked best was the tone; there’s a scene where three manifestly incorrect suitors must engage in an archery competition to win Merida’s hand in marriage, and the brash princess inserts herself in the games and wins. It’s funny, it’s shot like a kick-ass action scene and it’s kind of emotionally exciting. Even in the small clip you’re really rooting for her.
It’s taken Pixar 25 years to make a movie with a female lead, and while some may say that tomboy Merida is as good as a boy, I think she looks to be a terrific entry in the studio’s canon. Brave looks first and foremost like a terrific fantasy adventure, with elements of strong humor and great human warmth. I hope the film stands up to my first impression.