Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Brave Review by Briana Alessio

Ever since I saw the first trailer for Brave, I knew I wanted to see it.  A young lady with fiery red hair who fights for what she believes in, and dabbles in archery, who has a familiarity with bears AND has a stunning Scottish accent.  You cannot go wrong.  As the time grew closer, the commercials grew and although I was continuously excited to see it, I was a bit tired of seeing the same advertisement repeatedly.  When the day came, however, I was absolutely stoked.  I can say with a happy heart that this film lived up to my high expectations, and positively surpassed the direction I thought the film would go in.

This year’s Disney/Pixar collaboration, Brave, is about a young princess named Merida whose mother is set out to find a suitor for her daughter.  Merida’s father is basically going along with whatever her mother wants.  After all, who would want to break tradition?  Without giving too much away, she encounters a witch who casts a spell which goes haywire for Merida and her mother.  Many intense moments and a few smiles later, there is a guaranteed happy ending.  What is a true Disney film without a happy ending?

Merida is voiced by Kelly Macdonald, who stars on the television show Boardwalk Empire and has appeared in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy among others.  She is also slated to star in Anna Karenina later this year.  Billy Connolly voices Merida’s wonderfully endearing father, Fergus.  Connolly has appeared in many television shows and films; he is going to star as Dain Ironfoot in the upcoming film The Hobbit: There and Back Again, which looks intriguing.  Emma Thompson voices Elinor, Merida’s mother.  Thompson has also been in many films including one many of us adore called Love Actually.  This film is filled with many other remarkable voice talents including the hilarious talk show host Craig Ferguson, who voices Lord Macintosh.  And of course, John Ratzenberger makes his annual Disney/Pixar audio appearance, this time as Gordon.

The directors and co-writers of Brave are Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, and Steve Purcell (credit must be given as well to Irene Mecchi, who also co-wrote the screenplay).  Andrews, who proudly wore a kilt to the world premiere of the film, has written for Star Wars: Clone Wars (yay, Star Wars connection!).  Chapman has assisted in writing for Fantasia 2000, The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast.  Purcell has voiced characters in Cars themed video games, as well as the Monster Truck Mater and Heavy Metal Mater in 2010’s TV series Mater’s Tall Tales

The music in Brave is absolutely outstanding.  A lady named Julie Fowlis sings the beautiful melodies “Touch the Sky” and “Into the Open Air.”  The fantastic group Mumford & Sons even lend their voices to the soundtrack, singing “Learn Me Right” with a female vocalist who goes by the name of Birdy.  We cannot forget mentioning “Song of Mor du” sung by Billy Connolly and the cast, as well as Emma Thompson and Peigi Barker’s gorgeous “Noble Maiden Fair (A Mhaighdean Bhan Uasal).”

My favorite character is without a doubt Merida.  Ariel may be my favorite Disney princess, but Merida has exactly the kind of attitude and personality I love.  As the awesome host named Ryan Kilpatrick of this here podcast has always said, there must be a clear objective of each character.  This girl’s objective was extremely clear and understandable.  Now, if you know me well, you know that I cry at the drop of a hat.  Shockingly, Brave did not make me cry once.  I did get misty eyed a few times, but tears never once exited out of my eyes.  For this film, I think I have to see it again before deciding what my favorite part was.  I loved the whole thing, so it would be hard for me to choose something in particular.  However, for now, I will settle with the visually beautiful scene of Merida’s decision to “shoot for her own hand” and splits the arrow on the target with HER arrow.

This film is not all about bows, arrows, and bears.  This is actually about family, sacrifice, and destiny.  That being said, it may not connect to children as one may think.  This does not seem directed toward any particular group of people, but rather for an individual’s opinion.  Being at a stage of my life when fate and destiny are at the forefront of my mind, this increased my enjoyment factor.  All things aside, it is definitely worth seeing.  At a younger age, one will laugh at the cute baby bears and perhaps during the “fights” at the castle.  At an older age, one will understand how Merida is going through an extremely important stage of her life and will join her for an adventure of a lifetime.  I’m so pleased I saw this.  The storyline is solid, the visual effects are out of this world, and the characters are delightful.  Disney made the right choice with this one.  Yes, they took a chance, but you know what?  It was SO worth the risk.

My Rating:  4.5/5

If you had a chance to change your fate….would you?

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