After babysitting our nephew for a day, his mother (our big sister) paid for us to go to the movies (great payment by the way). Choice? Easy.
mime and I watched the trailer faithfully, checked out pictures on pinterest, and deduced that any Disney-Pixar movie that involves fiery-wild hair, archery, and Scottish accents is going to be awesome.
We bought our tickets and headed into the dark of the cinema. Well. We tried. We ended up squashed in a rather impressive looking line (we’ve been to the cinemas in our city a few times and we’ve never had to line up to go in; and usually, inside, there’s about 20 people maximum — this time the cinema was nearly packed!). This is big, we decided. Bigger than we thought. So we waited patiently, clasping our crumpled tickets, and watching the cinema attendees running in and out and cleaning up split popcorn. Then we went in.
They must have been running late because the end credits were still showing. No worries. I lead the way and mime and me slipped into some great seats. Well, they were great. Then someone with a big head sat in front of me. I propped myself up by sitting on my legs. I think the people behind me started complaining, but what could I do? By that time, our entire row had filled up and we would have been crawling over people’s laps to get out. So sit tight. Wait for the movie to start.
Once through the tedious adds, the movie took off with a giggle and squeal. And then a ROAR when the bear enters the scene. Yes, no wasting time here. Animation movies have sure changed from fluffy, sparkling princesses to archery and massive dangerous bears. (I can definitely say I approve of this change. Okay…I love it!)
The graphics are flawless. Mind blowing. There’s a part (and it’s in the trailers) where Merida lets loose her arrow…and everything goes into slow motion. The arrow wobbles from the bow and splits the target straight down the middle. Wow. That’s all I can say. Wow. And Merida’s hair! It’s like a curly, bright red, bouncing frizz of fire. Least to say, Merida’s hair (and her archery skills) was one of my favourite parts. The detail is astounding. Little flicks of the hair. Texture in the clothing. Quirks in the animals. Crunch of feet on gravel. Wind fluttering the cloak. Those kinds of details take considerable thought and planning and work. I’m just going to say it (one more time)…astounding.
The plot is riveting. Like Tangled, it isn’t your average journey of adventure to find something wonderful. There are lessons in Brave. And that impressed me so much. The story takes off with Merida, a spirited princess who loves archery and racing with her horse. But her mother is trying to turn her into a…what’s that horrible word? A lady. There are lessons, commands, instructions, reminders – everyday, every minute. Merida hates it, but sticks it out until…her mother decides it’s time for her to marry. Oh. No.
One of the primary lessons in Brave is – changing your fate (or future) doesn’t mean changing the people around you. Then there are other little strands – learning to listen, taking control of your future, trusting your parents, looking beyond what you want. They’re excellent lessons and woven in so well they make you think. And the lessons aren’t brazen and preachy. One part I love best is how this is a story about a girl (a teenage girl at that) and her parents and their relationship. That’s important. And Pixar is honing in on that. A lot of kids think they have the worst parents ever (nagging, bossy, don’t understand, don’t listen, don’t care…let’s not go on forever here) and it’s not even true. Sometimes it’s you who needs to step back, think and listen. And this is something Merida learns. Her mother loves her. She wants the best for her. And if her mother isn’t listening, well, neither is Merida.
The movie is scary. Really. Sitting in the cinema darkness with the huge screen before me and the music blaring out the speakers – I thought, “This is kind of scary for a kids’ movie”. Especially the bears. There are a lot of bears in this movie, and yes, they’re well animated, ferocious, dark and roaring. But would a 6 year old be okay watching it? I don’t think so. Why? Well, judging from the amount of little kids who ended up crying in the movie and how many parents ended up exiting for the scary parts (they came back after the bear scenes), I definitely wouldn’t recommend this movie for very small children.
Now, to swing the pendulum from the little ones to the big ones – I (as a teen) completely enjoyed the movie! There’s snappy (and funny) dialogue. There’s substance in the story. The graphics are amazing and engaging. The characters are lovable and in moments you’re completely engrossed with the whole film. So this is a movie the older members of the family will love watching with the smaller ones.
I love the characters! Merida especially. She’s sparky and alive and funny and stubborn. Her mother is so firm, yet patient. Her father is bold and brazen and loud. And her brothers? (Hamish, Harris and Hubert) They are so cute and mischievous and funny! The accents have to be my favourite part though. I love Scottish accents and (being set in medieval Scotland) ithe movie is full of the Scottish brogue, kilts, castles, and will o’ the wisps.
mime and I exited the movies, looked at each other…and gave some kilometre wide grins. The verdict came out unanimous.
Brave might just be, from hereafter, one of our all-time-favourite animation movies.