Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell
She is an independent creature, bent on proving herself. Then there is her mother, Elinor (Emma Thompson), who longs to arrange a marriage for her. The lucky man will be the one who wins a series of contests that prove him to be a proper suitor. But through a loophole, Merida finds she can compete in the games, thus challenging the norm. This leads to a major disruption between mother and daughter, and Merida winds up in the home of a witch (Julie Walters), who has the power to change Elinor’s ways.
It’s not long before Elinor is turned into a bear. How can Merida break the spell? Can she mend the bond between torn by pride? Does Elinor have any reason not to devour her only daughter?
Brave (co-directed by Mark Andrews, whose Pixar days go back to The Incredibles, Brenda Chapman, whose only other credit is The Prince of Egypt and Steve Purcell, a name you may or may not recognize from the Sam and Max videogame series) feels less Pixar than it does Disney, something fans feared when the Mouse House bought out Luxo and company in 2006. In the six years since that purchase, Pixar has stood firm ground on their principles and produced some of their best work (Wall-E, Up and Toy Story 3 being the standouts). But with Brave—fit with a heroic princess, cartoonish leads and an inspiring/likely-to-be-Oscar-nominated song that Phil Collins may as well have written—it finally feels like Pixar made a Disney movie, and an unimaginative one at that.
As much as Brave is about destiny and fate and being true to who you are, it’s also about selling merchandise--Merida proved to be a popular Halloween costume for girls, and boys (and maybe their sisters) will want to add an archery set to their Christmas list. Still, even though it was a consumer and box office success, Brave is Pixar’s second stinker in a row. That’s a studio record they can’t be proud of.
Only the Oscar-nominated short La Luna is housed on this disc.
Disc Two (Blu-ray):
Audio Commentary: Director Mark Andrews, co-director Steve Purcell, story supervisor Brian Larsen, and editor Nick Smith gather for an insightful track, where the quartet touches on a variety of topics, including the cast/crew, the look of the film, the music, the themes, and much, much more. This is an excellent commentary that serves Brave well.
Short Films: Included are the Oscar-nominated La Luna and the Brave-inspired The Legend of Mor’du.
Behind the Scenes: This collection of eight BTS featurettes (“Brave Old World,” “Merida & Elinor,” “Bears,” “Brawls in the Hall,” “Wonder Moss,” “Magic,” “Clan Pixar,” “Once Upon a Scene,” “Extended Scenes”) provides a wealth of information on the making of Brave, including bits on location scouting, the female leads, the animators behind the film, and more.
Disc Three (Bonus):
Fergus & Mor’du: An Alternate Opening (2:40): This piece probably could have been included with the “Extended Scenes,” but here it is anyway, complete with an introduction by Andrews.
Fallen Warriors (2:08) collects a number of moments that made it to the final stages of animation, but didn’t make the final cut of Brave.
Dirty Hairy People (3:33): Here, the animators pay tribute to the look and people of Scotland.
It Is English…Sort Of (3:50) offers a collection of Scottish phrases used in Brave.
Angus (3:25): This brief piece looks at the creation of Merida’s horse.
The Tapestry (3:56) looks at the purpose of the family tapestry in Brave.
Also included are Promotional Pieces and an Art Gallery.
Disc Four (DVD/Bonus):
Housed on this disc are the Audio Commentary, La Luna and The Legend of Mor’du.