Be Brave and See It

My boys and Merida strike a pose at Disney California Adventure (she’s usually in Disneyland, but she made a special appearance for Cars Land Media Day).

Pixar took some lumps after Cars 2 was released. There were more than a few people that believed that it was not up to Pixar’s standards. I was one of them (all is forgiven thanks to Cars Land!). Don’t worry, Brave (and La Luna) has Pixar back on the pedestal where it belongs.

Brave is set in Scotland, and it follows the contention between Princess Merida and her mother, Queen Elinor, over the fate of the former — and it wasn’t something pulled from a previously existing fairy tale, but rather the real experience of story creator Brenda Chapman (except she isn’t Scottish royalty). According to Brave Director Mark Andrews (pictured below), “Brenda Chapman came up with the storyline and the characters, and it came out of her being a parent and her trials and tribulations with her daughter.”

An aside, I interviewed Mark Andrews earlier this year and he is a ball of energy and excitement. He’s kind of like King Fergus, but with pants on.

Brave is full of tension, humor, and tenderness. The story is original and fits perfectly into the world that Pixar has created, but also relates easily with families today — thanks to the guiding hands of Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews, and a team of passionate creatives.

“It’s alchemy,” said Andrews.

Also, the bear scenes are very scary.

I took this photo while visiting Pixar Animation Studios. The tapestry plays a pivotal role in Brave.

I’m not kidding about the scary part. I spoke with a number of parents after a media screening of Brave and most of them said that their kids were scared to the point that a few of them had to leave. My boys, ages six and nine, were fine, in a grabbing my arm and stopping the flow of blood sort of way. I’m okay with that.

Walt Disney was a big fan of inviting kids to explore, through the safe medium of storytelling, the entire spectrum of emotion — and that includes such things as fear and sadness. Pixar has followed suit (see, UP).

Brave may have some scares (and some kilt-related nudity), but its message is one of understanding and love, and it gets you right in the heart. There’s probably an archery analogy there somewhere, but it’s late and thinking takes time. You understand.

Bottom line (see, kilt-related nudity), the story strikes the notes that only Pixar can, and the animation is stunning. Amazingly so. You might say that Pixar has really hit the target. It’s an archery thing.

Brave opens everywhere on Friday, June 22.

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About Whit

Whit Honea is the author of The Parents' Phrase Book. He lives in the L.A. area with his wife and two boys. You can find his writings and other works all over the Internets. Now available on Twitter.
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7 Responses to Be Brave and See It

  1. Marshal Knight says:

    Great review. I loved it as well! Especially the music, it was wonderful. Where do I sign up for a Braveland at DHS?

  2. Middlebrow says:

    This is not really a review. Sort of an impression of the film. A parent’s guide.

    • Whit says:

      It sounds like you’re looking for spoilers/major plot points, and I have chosen not to share those here. I am sure you can find what you are looking for easily on the Internet, or, thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign, in most book and/or toy stores.

  3. Jac @ Challenged & Running in the Bike Lane says:

    Can’t wait to see it Friday night!!! I have loved all the trailers!!

  4. Melissa Sue says:

    Thank you for sharing this! Unlike Middlebrow, I am glad this is an impression rather than a review–I can’t wait to see the film for myself, and this cements that feeling.

  5. JimMacQ says:

    Last time I checked, a review is no the same as a synopsis. Tragically, too many incompetent reviewers think that regurgitating the plot is a substitute for what they are supposed to be doing.

    I will paraphrase Spider Robinson: A critic tells you whether or not it’s art; a reviewer tells you whether it’s any good.

    What you have done here serves very well as a review.

  6. Molly says:

    I saw the premiere of Brave. I must say the story hits you with a lesson. A lesson that everyone should put into action. The lesson is common, simple, yet not obivoius. You need to be careful, you may think your life would be perfect one way but it’s really not. You need to realize you can fix your problems you have strength, you need to take adventure. All you need to live up to these is to be BRAVE! This was an excellent movie with a lot of twists and turns

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