(Animated feature, PG, 95 minutes)
“The Hunger Games” brought us Katniss Everdeen, and “Brave” follows in its footsteps, bringing us another young girl with a bow and arrow, fighting for some sort of justice and survival.
Set in Scotland, Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) is a young girl with blazing blue eyes and whose seemingly endless, curly fiery locks almost consume her. She is a princess by birth but a tomboy by nature.
Her father is King Fergus (Billy Connolly), a bear of man with a soft heart. The queen, Elinor (Emma Thompson), is a doting mother, prepping her daughter for her royal destiny.
However, Merida wants nothing of it. She is free-spirited, riding her horse, Angus, throughout the land, climbing walls and drinking from waterfalls. But the time has come for her to select a suitor. Her mother reminds her that it is tradition, but the young princess doggedly refuses to follow it.
Her choice causes a massive rift between mother and daughter, and Merida escapes and seeks the counsel of a witch. She wants to change her mother in order for her to see her perspective. However, as the saying goes, watch what you wish for.
Austin Lee, a Marietta native and Walton High School graduate, is a character rigging lead for Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios, where he has worked since 2002. Lee, along with the rest of the animation team, created a visual treat for young children and their parents.
Magic is a theme of the “Brave.” As mystical willow wisps float through the woods and the witch performs her black magic, audiences won’t be able to take their eyes off the screen.
The story, however, wasn’t as captivating as I expected. King Fergus’ legacy is that of battling Mor’du, an evil bear, and this theme will also be carried throughout the film. However, “Brave” seemed to be more about mother-daughter squabbling rather than one of epic adventure. The end result is a sweet story, but there is also a lot of tension in it that made me want it to be over at some points.
Nevertheless, the story is still very creative, and it is great for families. Merida’s three younger brothers — triplets with crowns of the same fiery locks — are scene-stealers. This mischievous trio is made up of sneaky little ones, finding ways to steal desserts, play tricks on the king, and cause trouble. However, they are also resourceful and help Merida when she needs them the most.
There are three tribes, each with representatives — the oldest sons — to compete for the princess’ adoration. Their antics are also hilarious to watch.
The theater was loaded with kids when I screened “Brave,” so they will get a kick out of it. However, children in strollers cried during most of the movie. There are some scenes that will frighten them, especially with the Mor’du, so it’s probably best that smaller children (younger than 5) don’t see this one. But if you can make it to the theater with your family, you will leave mostly satisfied.