July 17th, 2012, by Rob


Brave is a 2012 American 3D computer-animated fantasy adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. It was written by Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, and Irene Mecchi, directed by Andrews and Chapman and co-directed by Purcell. The film’s voice cast features Kelly Macdonald, Julie Walters, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, Robbie Coltrane, and John Ratzenberger. To make the most complex visuals possible, Pixar completely rewrote their animation system for the first time in 25 years. It is the first movie to use the Dolby Atmos sound format.

In Brave, set in the highlands of 10th century Scotland, a skilled archer named Merida defies an age-old custom, causing chaos in her kingdom. After consulting a witch for help, her family becomes cursed and Merida is forced to undo the spell herself before it is too late. Brave premiered on June 10, 2012, at the Seattle International Film Festival, and was released in North America on June 22, 2012, to positive reviews.

Preceding the film is a short film entitled La Luna, directed by Enrico Casarosa.



Brave Plot

In Scotland, King Fergus of Clan DunBroch presents his young daughter Merida with a bow for her birthday. While practicing, Merida encounters a will-o’-the-wisp. Soon afterwards, Mor’du, a giant demon bear, attacks the family. Merida escapes along with her mother Queen Elinor while Fergus fights off the bear alongside his men at the cost of his left leg. Years later, Elinor has since given birth to identical triplet boys, and Merida has become a free-spirited and adventurous teenager. One night, her mother informs her she is to be betrothed to one of her father’s allied clans: Dingwall, Macintosh, or MacGuffin. Oblivious to her mother’s attempts to appease her by telling her a legend of a power-hungry prince who broke off from his duty and caused the ruin of a kingdom, Merida is dissatisfied with the arranged marriage.

The clans arrive with their first-born sons to compete in the Highland Games for Merida’s hand, and the princess chooses archery as the main event. During the competition, Lord Dingwall’s son wins by accident. Merida then enters the competition, declaring herself eligible to compete for her own hand as the first-born of Clan DunBroch. Furious, Elinor has a falling out with Merida resulting in the queen burning Merida’s bow and Merida ripping a family tapestry before fleeing into the woods. While there, the will-o’-the-wisps lead her to the hut of an elderly witch who insists she is a wood carver. After some bargaining, the witch agrees to give Merida a spell, in the form of a cake, to change her mother.

Merida returns to the castle and gives Elinor the cake, transforming her into a bear. With the help of her brothers, Merida gets Elinor out of the castle. The pair return to the witch’s cottage, finding the witch gone. Through a potion-controlled automated message, Merida discovers that the spell will be permanent unless undone by the second sunrise. The witch leaves Merida a riddle, mentioning that she must “mend the bond torn by pride.” Merida and her mother begin to reconcile their relationship, however, Merida observes the spell to be slowly becoming permanent, transforming Elinor into a wild bear. Later, the pair encounters the wisps again and follows them to ancient ruins. They learn that Mor’du was once the prince of Elinor’s legend, and received the same spell from the witch. After fleeing an attack from Mor’du, Merida theorizes that the repair of the tapestry will turn her mother human again and prevent her from becoming like Mor’du.

At the castle, the clans are on the verge of war because of Merida’s actions, but the princess quells their fighting and declares that the children should be allowed to get married in their own time. Her suitors second her and the lords agree. Merida then sneaks into the tapestry room with Elinor, who once again loses her humanity for a few minutes. Fergus goes to his bedchambers to find Elinor, but mistakes her to be dead after seeing the room destroyed. Elinor attacks both Merida and Fergus when he steps into their room. Upon regaining human consciousness, she races out of the castle in desperation. Thinking that Elinor is Mor’du, Fergus detains Merida and follows Elinor. With the help of her brothers, now transformed into cubs from eating the cake, Merida races after her father while fixing the tapestry. The clan members and Fergus capture Elinor, but Merida intervenes. Mor’du then appears and attacks Merida. Elinor kills Mor’du by luring him under a falling menhir, setting the spirit of the prince free.

Merida places the tapestry over Elinor, hoping that her mother would change back but nothing happens. She professes her love for her mother and apologizes while crying. Elinor is transformed back along with the triplets, and the family is reunited once again. A few days later, the clans depart for their respective lands and Merida and Elinor ride their horses together.

Brave Voice Cast

Kelly Macdonald as Princess Merida
Emma Thompson as Queen Elinor
Billy Connolly as King Fergus
Kevin McKidd as Lord MacGuffin and Young MacGuffin
Craig Ferguson as Lord Macintosh
Robbie Coltrane as Lord Dingwall
Julie Walters as The Witch
John Ratzenberger as Gordon, the guard
Patrick Doyle as Martin, the guard
Peigi Barker as Young Merida
Steven Cree as Young Macintosh
Callum O’Neill as Wee Dingwall
Sally Kinghorn and Eilidh Fraser as Maudie
Steve Purcell as The Crow

Non-speaking characters include Mor’du, Angus (Merida’s horse),[10] and Harris, Hubert, and Hamish (Merida’s triplet brothers).

Brave Production

Announced in April 2008 as The Bear and the Bow, Brave is Pixar’s first fairy tale, and is somewhat darker and more mature in tone than its previous films. Brenda Chapman considers it as a fairy tale in the tradition of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm. Chapman conceived the project and was announced as the director of the film, making her Pixar’s first female director, but in October 2010, she was replaced by Mark Andrews following creative disagreements.

Merida is the first female protagonist in a Pixar film. She was originally to be voiced by Reese Witherspoon, who declined due to scheduling issues. Instead, the character was voiced by Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald, recently acclaimed for her role as Margaret Schroeder in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.

John Ratzenberger, who is Pixar’s “good luck charm”, having been in every Pixar film to date, voiced Gordon, a guard, in a Scottish accent.

The end credits include a special tribute to Pixar co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, who died in 2011.

Brave Music

The film score to Brave was composed by Patrick Doyle. To bring some of Scotland’s native flavor to the music, Doyle used native Scottish instruments such as bagpipes, a solo fiddle, Celtic harps, flutes and the bodhrán, with an electronically treated dulcimer and cimbalom to give it a more contemporary feel. “I employed many classic Scottish dance rhythms such as reels, jigs, and strathspeys, which not only serve the action but keep it authentic,” said Doyle.[21] Doyle had also written a drinking song for King Fergus and was traveling back and forth to Scotland for research. The composer has also been recording “unaccompanied Gaelic psalm singing.”

In addition to Patrick Doyle’s music, the film features three original songs. “Touch the Sky” (music by Alex Mandel, lyrics by Mark Andrews & Mandel) and “Into the Open Air” (music and lyrics by Alex Mandel) are both performed by Julie Fowlis. Mumford & Sons contributed the song “Learn Me Right” with Birdy to the film soundtrack.

Brave Soundtrack

Walt Disney Records released the soundtrack on both CD album and digital download on June 19, 2012.

Brave Release

The film was initially set for release on June 15, 2012, but it was later changed to June 22, 2012.[24] On April 3, 2012, Pixar screened the first 30 minutes of the movie, and it received a positive reaction by its screeners. The film premiered on the last day of the Seattle International Film Festival on June 10, 2012. It had its Australian premiere on June 11, 2012, at the Sydney Film Festival, and had its domestic premiere on June 18, 2012, at the new Dolby Theatre in Hollywood as part of the Los Angeles Film Festival, its European premiere was at the Taormina Film Festival in Sicilly on June 23, 2012 and its British premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on June 30, 2012.

In the United States and Canada, Brave is the first feature-length film to use the Dolby Atmos sound format. Almost half of the 14 theaters set up to show the film in Atmos are in California (Burbank, Century City, Fremont, Hollywood, San Francisco, and Sherman Oaks), with the others located in seven states (Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Kansas City, Missouri, Paramus, New Jersey, Las Vegas, Nevada, Chicago, West Plano, Texas, Vancouver, Washington) and in Toronto, Ontario. It was released in other theaters with Dolby Surround 7.1. In total, it was released in 4,164 theaters, a record-high for Pixar, which was previously held by Cars 2 (4,115 theaters). 2,790 of the theaters will include 3D shows.

Brave Critical Response

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 77% of critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 6.8/10 based on 179 reviews. The consensus statement reads, “Brave offers young audiences and fairy tale fans a rousing, funny fantasy adventure with a distaff twist and surprising depth.” Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 69 based on 36 reviews, or “Generally favorable.” The film was also well-received among general audiences, earning an “A” CinemaScore.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 out of 4 stars and wrote, “The good news is that the kids will probably love it, and the bad news is that parents will be disappointed if they’re hoping for another Pixar groundbreaker.” He said that the film had an uplifting message about improving communication between mothers and daughters.

Peter Debruge of Variety gave a positive review of the film, remarking that the film “offers a tougher, more self-reliant heroine for an era in which princes aren’t so charming, set in a sumptuously detailed Scottish environment where her spirit blazes bright [sic] as her fiery red hair.” Debruge also said that “Adding a female director [Brenda Chapman] to its creative boys’ club, the studio [Pixar] has fashioned a resonant tribute to mother-daughter relationships that packs a level of poignancy on par with such beloved male-bonding classics as Finding Nemo.”

Conversely, Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter said that the film “diminishes into a rather wee thing as it chugs along, with climactic drama that is both too conveniently wrapped up and hinges on magical elements that are somewhat confusing to boot.”
Box office

As of July 15, 2012, the film had earned $196,061,319 in North America, and $46,800,000 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $242,861,319.

In North America, pre-release tracking suggested the film would open between $55 million to $65 million in North America, which is slightly below average for a Pixar film. Trackers suggested that the film might not appeal to the male demographic, whereas the female protagonist was expected to draw females of all ages, and 3D was expected to boost earnings.

It opened on June 22, 2012 with $24.6 million. It finished its opening weekend with $66.3 million at the upper end of the numbers analysts predicted. This was the fourth-largest weekend in June and the fifth-largest for a Pixar film. Despite pre-release tracking indications, the audience was estimated to be 43% male and 57% female.

Outside North America, the film earned $14.0 million from 10 markets on its opening weekend, finishing in third place behind Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted and Snow White and the Huntsman. Its highest-grossing territory was Russia and the CIS, where it topped the box office with $5.37 million.




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