Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald) of Scotland is a tomboy who likes to ride her horse and shoot her bow, just like her warrior-king father (Billy Connolly). Her mother, the Queen (Emma Thompson) is doing all she can to groom Merida to be an elegant princess to marry her off to the first-born son of another Scottish clan, as is tradition. Merida is desperate to get out of the arranged marriage, but in a tale as old as time, she makes a deal with a witch (Julie Walters) and gets more than she bargained for.
The casting for this film was great. There aren't a lot of big name actors out there who can do Scottish accents, but the combination of Scottish and British-born thespians doing voices for Brave put on tremendous displays. And given that there weren't many believable and talented Scottish accented actors to pick from, there are a fair number of characters who don't do any talking at all, but it's written and directed in a way that makes these characters work.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but given that it's Pixar, this should come as believable - the story was original. I haven't seen a story, particularly an animated film tackle the story of Brave. The premise of an unwanted arranged marriage isn't original, but the focus on the relationship of a daughter and mother and all the twists and turns of this film was completely unique. There were moments in the film that I said out loud "I know where this is going!" but I'd instead be given something completely un-thought of. Directors/Writers Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman were a phenomenal pairing and here's hoping they do more work together.
The animation of Brave stands out, not only when watching the film, but when compared to just about all other animated films in the last few years. The opening scene especially caresses and massages your aesthetic senses.
Overall, I can't say enough good things about this film. It's one of the best movies I've watched this year and made for a perfect date night. It's also cleanly cut and condensed down to a runtime of just an hour and a half. Everyone should check this film out. Overall Rating: