When our oldest daughter first saw the trailer for Disney Pixar’s new movie Brave, she couldn’t wait to wrap her head around a movie that was all about Scotland and magic and an amazing girl for whom adventure and following her own path were second nature.
So, it seemed only natural that she and I take some girl time and hit the theater for opening night of a girl-powered adventure. It was a special treat for sure as she has never seen a movie in a big theater either, just the small one in the Comox Valley. So, catching a 3-D flick in a brand new Halifax multiplex made her swoon (me too).
From the word go, the movie took us to another place and really captivated us with an otherworld feel that Scotland and all of its magic often has. For girls in love with princesses, they got a little bit of that action. But, really, this was about as anti-princess as a Disney movie could get.
This was about a girl for whom life was about turning the volume up to 11 and seeing what happened.
While we were captivated by Merida, her adorable and unruly little brothers, as well as her charming clan, it became evident very quickly that this was a much darker tale than Disney Pixar generally rolls out. Between Stonehenge, a funny witch who is also mildly scary and the generally goth palate of the movie overall, our daughter found its magic and mystery a little ominous.
Then, we met the antagonist – a vicious bear – and I was mildly relieved that we’d spent a lot of time in the last year reading Grimm’s Fairy Tales and a lot of the older nature-based fairy tales that had some scarier moments because this bear was plain old mean and scary and our daughter spent most of the rest of the movie attached to my arm. We spent a fair bit of time talking about this scary dude and why he would be trying to kill everyone. Eeep.
The grace and charm, along with silly, precious moments throughout the rest of the movie made up for the terrifying bear and we seriously fell in love with it all. It is very much a mom and daughter movie – one that every mom and daughter who are struggling with each other or are looking for a bit more understanding between each other really ought to go see together.
It brings women together, celebrates their differences and helps us all find places to come together and cheer.
On the content side, it wasn’t Disney Pixar’s finest. As gorgeous as it was, the script was a little light and the usual pithy references that make Pixar movies as charming and fun for adults as they are for kids was a bit slim as well. But, movie snobbery aside, I find myself going back to the place it took us over and over again.
There’s something about finding a bit of magic in our own humanity that makes life beautiful and warm and, of course, fun.
Brave is in theaters across North America in 2-D and 3-D. I recommend 2-D for a bit less in-your-face experience and 3-D for families that like the volume turned way up.
Kids who scare easily will not like this movie and I don’t recommend it for wee people 5 and under. But, the middle-grade and tween crowd will love it – and maybe even try a few of Merida’s tricks on their parents after.