I took my nine year old and six year old children to see the Disney Pixar Brave movie along with my mother in law. A short review of the movie is that it is a timeless classic movie that will be re-released in twenty years for another generation of mothers and daughters (and sons, too). However, if you have a baby that is going to sleep through the film, you shouldn’t bring a young child to it.
Pixar’s Brave is revolutionary for its amazing animation. It seemed to have a realistic feel to the animation that was akin to “Avatar”. The 2D version of the movie was as immersive as the 3D version. Nor did the movie seem to throw in scenes specifically for designer 3D effects. It’s a beautiful film with fine details and layered scenery that are pleasant to watch. This makes the magic answering machine scene as beautiful as it is funny.
I like the fact that this movie is set in medieval Scotland without throwing in an endless stream of pop culture references, a mistake that made Shrek dated and increasingly irrelevant. It included some magic, but the magic is not glorified. To quote from the ending, “Fate is what you make it,” and this movie beautifully reaffirms personal responsibility for one’s actions.
The three troublemaking little brothers provided much of the comic relief of this film. Fortunately, except for a couple of bare butts, there is no nudity. There is little raunchy humor, though a tactful mooning scene left my son rolling in the aisles. Nor did the movie take the insulting tack that the teenager is always smarter, better and more competent than the adults. The three young men from the other clans are competing for the hand of the princess. This series of scenes is hilarious, from breaking stereotypes to the mooning scene shown in many movie trailers. The party after the contest is also full of hilarious scenes, including the warrior father being reprimanded by the mother for fighting with grown men. When the men are stranded on the roof of the tower so the princess and her transformed mother can escape, their only solution is sure to delight young children.
That said, Brave is an excellent movie for mothers and daughters of all ages old enough to handle the scary parts. The daughter comes to see the mother’s view of things in why rules and responsibility are important. The mother learns to relax somewhat, letting her daughter mature into adulthood and likely marriage at her own pace. Trying to sit down to a formal dinner as a bear and then jumping on the table to eat was a side-splitting scene. Trying to pantomime to her daughter the words to say while pretending to be stuffed bear was amusing to say the least.
There should be a balance between personal choices and social roles, and we are happier when we work within them. This is also a very family-affirming film, something sorely lacking in many modern films. Brave also possesses humorous touches that adults can appreciate, preventing parents from going bored out of their minds while their children become addicted to the movie.