Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Brave : A delightfully plucky heroine

Tastefully scripted and beautiful to look at, Pixar's latest production, Brave is a colorful fantasy fairytale opens with a touching prologue which promises many great things to come.

Indeed that is what takes place on screen as the movie unfurls enchanting its beholders scene by scene. Set in the Scottish wilds, Brave conveys the plight of young Princess Merida, a lively young girl who is unwilling to let go of her tomboyishness to transform herself into the traditional mould of a princess.

Despite having a loving family, good looks and a trouble-free kingdom, Merida desperately wants to change her fate. The only obstacle that is standing in her way is Queen Eleanor, her mother. Once she discover that the only requirement to the tournament which decides her future husband is to be the firstborn of one of the kingdom's leaders, she enters into the competition to win her right to control her freedom.

Once this attempt fails Merida clings to straw and seeks helps from a witch that she had met in the woods. She asks the witch to supply her with a spell which will 'change' her mother and release her of her conservative views. Of course, the plan backfires because it is not the 'change' of heart that Merida expects in her mother that takes place but a change of appearance.

This turn of events leads them on an adventure which brings the mother and daughter close together. There are some genuinely funny scenes like in instances when Merida has to confess her plan of trying to 'change' her mother to the Queen who, by now, has taken the form of a bear! The triplets' mischief too brings a few laughs.

Though it does not keep you giggling in your seats like the Ice Age or Kung Fu Panda series, humour arises in the least unexpected situations like how the king and his friends manage to climb down from the tower by making use of their garments and the triplets managing to outwit everyone much elder than themselves.

One puzzling aspect of the movie is how King Fergus, his allies and subjects could possibly have not missed the disappearance of the princess, queen and the triplets for nearly a whole day. King Fergus' character too could have been further developed. The warriors also have a strong resemblance to the Gauls found in the 'Astérix' comic books.

Brave's strongest aspect is in it's out of the box storyline. When you see a princess who is quipped with archery and sword fighting skills you naturally assume that she will save the land from some evil invader or supernatural being. However the twist in the tale takes us by surprise because the nemesis seems to be none other than a severed family bond. The visuals of the film are also tastefully presented. Plenty of details capture the viewers' attention so that they would not be distracted from the screen. Directors Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman deserve kudos for their endeavours. They have hit the bull's eye in making a movie which caters to the family. Though rebellious, Merida makes a delightful heroine. She retains her dignity in all angles from defending her mother to delivering a speech which rekindles friendship between the kingdoms. Her character is well etched from her reddish curls to her modern girl views in the ancient world. Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd and Craig Ferguson make a strong voice cast.

This is a heartwarming film about trying to control your destiny. Though it falls back into the happy ending of all Disney movies, it leaves you with a satisfying glow. 

Ruwini Jayawardana