Pixar is perhaps the one film studio to have made itself into its own brand of films, therefore meaning with each film they create, they have a lot to live up to. With Brave being the first of its kind for Pixar in several areas, it tries to both fit into the mode of Pixar films and stand apart from the rest of them.
Brave is a story set in Scotland that is written like a fairy tale. Merida (Kelly Macdonald), the first female lead in a Pixar movie, is a princess who is being raised by her mother Elinor (Emma Thompson), the queen, is raising her in the image of herself as a suitable queen of the kingdom. Merida’s father, King Fergus (Billy Connolly), has raised her to be more like him, however not on purpose. She has taken an interest in activities that Queen Elinor says princesses just don’t do.
Much like other classic fairytales, there is impending romance when the first-born sons from the kings of other clans must compete for Merida’s hand in marriage. Unlike those other fairytales, Merida is turned off by the restricted married life. Thus there is a witch (Julie Walters) who is brought into the story to cast a spell, a wish requested by Merida who decides she wants to control her own fate, only the resulting wish granted isn’t quite what she had bargained for. The conflict that results involves Merida trying to solve the problem that she caused, even if she denies her fault in it.
The strength of this film is placed on Merida and her character development and progress throughout the movie. She’s a strong character. She has very different relationships with both of her parents and it is in this that she realizes her own internal conflicts on how to deal with both when the time is most urgent. Like most other Pixar films, Brave isn’t quite too heavy in the story being told that there aren’t a few light-hearted laughs along the way, often at the hands of King Fergus or the Witch. Unlike some of the more stronger Pixar films, like Finding Nemo or Up, the main struggle at hand isn’t made out to be life-altering but rather feels to serve more as a distraction to the centralized story of Merida’s fate rather than the method used to alter it. This instead becomes a film that lacks the solid means of telling this main story at hand. The point is put across about the importance of family but the way in which it is presented lacks the direness and urgency to make it effective.