Yesterday the highly anticipated animated film, Brave, opened in theatres. With trailers running for months (my six-year-old daughter has been heard saying “I’ll be shooting for my own hand” for weeks at odd times!) we were ready to see it for ourselves. We weren’t disappointed.
Brave is about a teenager, Merida (Kelly Macdonald), a skilled archer and head-strong daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). From Disney and Pixar, the story takes place in the Highlands of Scotland and is about Merida’s defiance of her role as princess and an age-old custom held dear to her mother. Merida turns to a witch (Julie Walters) for help but realizes that she made a terrible mistake and must find the bravery within to make things right.
Besides the Scotland setting, witches spells, fights with bears and the main character’s long flowing fire-red hair, the story is something almost all daughters go through as they begin to find their independence. “It’s about a teenager’s struggle with finding herself, with creating her own destiny,” said director Mark Andrews. But it’s also filled with laughs, especially from the hijinks of Merida’s three little brothers and her father.
We had the privilage of attending the press screening before the film opened and I also had the remarkable opportunity to sit down and chat with the very funny director Mark Andrews. Mark was story supervisor for features including Iron Giant, Ratatoille and The Incredibles as well as screen writer for the live action film, John Carter.
Here are 7 things I wanted to share with you about the movie!
- Their are scary and rather dark moments in this movie. While my six-year-old daughter and my 10-year-old son both LOVED the film and laughed out loud throughout the movie, they also both admitted to being somewhat scared at times. There are dark moments in the forest and scenes with bears and men fighting. Mark said they went “there” on purpose and didn’t pull the dark moments back because they served a purpose in the story. “You can’t pretend their are stakes and a lesson to be learned if there’s no real consequences,” he said. “During Merida’s transformation from child to adult she needs to realize she made a mistake that she needed to fix. We could easily have gone PG-13 but instead we balanced it with humor, action and heart.”
- Brave took seven years to make. So basically, it was conceived about the same time my daughter was! Mark replaced Brenda Chapman, the movie’s original director and writer, in the fall of 2010. Creative differences had stalled production and with only 18 months until the movie was due to be released, Mark, who was already involved with the project as a consultant and expert on Scotland, stepped in. Mark said that Brenda, who is his friend, loved the outcome of the film.
- The conversation between mother and daughter. One of the greatest moments in the movie is when Queen Elinor is talking to King Fergus and Marida is talking to her horse. In the cross-cutting scenes, mother and daughter have the discussion they should be having with each other but don’t because they lack the courage. “It was difficult to depict the dynamic between mom and daughter,” said Mark. “We wanted both to be relatable, but we really had to like and understand Marida because it’s her story.” When they are together in the next scene and have the chance to really talk to each other, they both start but stop. “You know what they want to do is heal – but that can’t,” said Mark. You can see a bit of this scene where King Fergus is role playing as Marida for Elinor in this trailer.
- Some critics say there aren’t any male role models in this film. I disagree. While Marida’s suitors are portrayed as shy, vacant and cocky, Mark said that’s real life. “Nobody has it together. When teenage boys are thrust into something they don’t want to be or do, it’s awkward. But they all come through at the end,” he said. “That was me when I was in high school. And remember, it’s Merida’s story – how SHE sees them.
- The sound track is beautiful. Filled with traditional Scottish dance rhythms and native instruments played by Scottish musicians, I felt like I was transported to another time and place. And the song, “Learn Me Right” was written by one of my favorite folk rock groups; Mumford & Sons.
- The Witch was awesome. Mark said she was one of the hardest characters and to get right. Her scene was the first one that went into production, they re-did it about 100 times and was the last scene they finished in December, 2011. “This scene was so important. It’s right in the middle of the film and a big turning point,” he said. “We wanted it to be entertaining, but not cliche.” Check out a clip from that part of the movie.
- Stay after the credits for a short clip about the witch. I am INFAMOUS for leaving as soon as the credits start rolling and almost always miss the little scenes that tie things together or tease you for the next film. This one has a good one and I missed it, just like I did at the Avengers not long ago. Don’t make the same mistake. I’m going back just for that clip alone!
So how about a Brave Giveaway?!
One lucky Still Living The Dream reader will win an authentic leather covered Brave journal signed by Mark Andrews and pen and pencil set in a cool case! All you have to do is comment below to let me know if you’ll be seeing the movie. And if you already have, what you liked best.
Want more chances?
Ok, then. Leave another comment for each additional thing you do below! I will choose a winner at random on July 5, 2012, at 11:59 p.m. CST. Open to the US only.
- Follow me on Pinterest
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- Like Still Living The Dream on facebook
- Like Brave on facebook.
- Tweet this giveaway with this language “I want to win a @PixarBrave movie leather-bound journal and pen/pencil set with case @jpatrickcomm http://www.stilllivingthedream.com/2012/06/disneypixar-brave-movie-review-and-giveaway.html”
I was given tickets to see the movie Brave and giveaway items mentioned above by Disney/Pixar. No other compensation was received; only the opportunity to talk to a very cool director! All thoughts and opinions, as always, are my own.