Brave

 

Disney•Pixar

 

Rating: PG

 

Reason for the Rating: Some scary action and rude humor.

 

Plot Summary: Merida, the impulsive daughter of Scottish royalty, in an effort to change her fate, makes a choice that could ruin her life as well as the kingdom.

 

PopFam Recommends: This is a cute movie for kids to see, but not as good as previous Pixar movies.

 

The first thing I need to say, is that this story is about FATE, not FEET. My son was very disappointed upon leaving the theater to discover that Merida's feet never change. In fact, because of the Scottish accent, he never really understood throughout the entire movie that they were saying "fate" and not "feet." Basically, he missed the entire point of the movie, but did he care? No. He still thought it was a good story.

 

Yes, Brave is about changing one's fate, or destiny. Merida (Kelly McDonald) is a Scottish princess who would rather be shooting arrows and riding her trusty steed than sitting demurely and sewing a tapestry. Much to the dismay of her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), but the delight of her father, King Fergus (Billy Connelly). Merida doesn't think too much of this issue, until she comes of age, and is to choose a husband from three suitors. All of which are completely uninspiring. Running away on her horse, she is led by will-o-the-wisps to the cottage of a witch (Julie Walters) who gives Merida a potion which will change her mother. Because the problem lies with Queen Elinor, not Merida. The parent is always the problem.

 

Merida is successful in feeding the potion to her mother, but Elinor doesn't change the way Merida hopes. It's not her mind that is changed, but her body, which is turned into a bear. Which is a bit of a problem. Not only because, well, she's a bear, but because when Merida was small Fergus had his leg bitten off by a bear. Now he hates bears. So when he sees Elinor as a bear, he is set on killing her.

 

Thankfully, the potion has an escape clause. It can be reversed if Merida can mend the rift between her and Elinor within two days. How do you do that when your mother is a bear? Well, this is a Disney animated movie, so all things are possible, but in doing so, Merida uncovers the truth about the history of her clan and the bear who bit off her father's leg.

 

As I said previously, my kids liked Brave, but it certainly isn't on par with other Disney/Pixar animated movies like Toy Story, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, or Wall-E. For a movie that was marketed as a story about a girl who saves herself...she is the hero, not a prince, it just falls short. Everyone surrounding Merida, except her mother, is a complete idiot. Merida isn't interested in marrying anyone (and, of course, she isn't even given a decent option. I'd want to change my fate, too, if those three were my choices. At least in a regular fairytale, the prince is given a beautiful princess to save). Merida will either marry an idiot or become an old-maid.

 

Regardless, kids will enjoy this movie, as it has all the elements kids love: humor, magic, and turning your mom into a bear.

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• What is something your parents require of you, but you actually hate doing?

 

• Merida learns how much she loves her mother through their adventure together. What is your favorite memory of time you spent with your mom or dad.

 

• Merida's got herself into some trouble, but her courage gave her the strength to get out of it. Tell about a time you got into trouble, and had to face up to what you did. How did you solve your problem?

 

--JW

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

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