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Movie Review: Disney/Pixar's Brave (2012)

From the studios that brought us some of the best animated features of all time, like Toy Story and Finding Nemo, comes Brave. Brave is Disney/Pixar's first mother-daughter story.

Set in beautiful, lush Scotland, Brave tells the story of Merida, a teenaged princess who excels at archery. Merida is horrified when she discovers that her parents expect her to follow tradition and be married off to one of the sons of the three lords of the kingdom. Merida protests; her mother insists and won't back down. Merida is determined to find a way out. Thus begins the story. The story was inspired by co-director Brenda Chapman's struggles with her own daughter, who was only four years old at the time.

The movie is visually engaging, from the beautiful colors of Merida's red hair to the glowing blue will o' the wisps that Merida encounters in the gorgeous forest that lies outside the gates of the castle where she lives. Seeing the movie in 3D adds to the feeling of being immersed in Merida's world.

Despite the fact that the voice actors, most of whom come from Scottish backgrounds, speak with Scottish accents, all of the dialogue is easy to understand, except for that of one of Merida's potential suitors, Young MacGuffin (actor Kevin McKidd), who delivers his few lines of dialogue in a Scottish dialect, called Doric, that is completely unintelligible to most everyone.

Sharp-eared Harry Potter movie fans may notice that grumpy old Lord Dingwall, one of the three lords of the kingdom, sounds a lot like Hagrid, because actor Robbie Coltrane voiced this role. Other Brave actors with Harry Potter credits include Kelly McDonald (Merida; Helena Ravenclaw in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2) and Julie Walters (The Witch; Molly Weasley in the Harry Potter movies), but I only recognized the voice of Mr. Coltrane.

The music, composed by Scotland native, Patrick Doyle, inconspicuously helps set the tone throughout the movie.

I liked the movie's message, which I felt was that no matter how much you disagree with your family, deep down there is a powerful love for one another. I wonder if young girls and their mothers who see this movie will find that it brings them closer together. It certainly did for two of my fellow moviegoers, a mother and her preschooler, who spent the scary parts of the movie, and there were a few, in her mother's lap. As an adult, now past the years of teenage angst, I found tears rolling down my cheeks as I thought of my own wonderful mother during the movie's touching ending.

In all, I enjoyed Brave and would recommend it. Be sure to stay in the theater all the way until the end of the credits, otherwise you'll miss the movie's quick, but fun, final scene.

Jen's grade:
Absolutely go see it!

Brave opened in theaters on June 22nd, 2012.

Brave is rated PG.

Jen (California,USA)*
* As a member of the press, Jen received one complimentary ticket to a screening of Brave.

Find more of Jen's movie reviews here.