Disney/Pixar Brave Movie Review and Giveaway

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!

  1.  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.”
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

  1. Follow me on Pinterest
  2. Follow me on twitter
  3. Like Still Living The Dream on facebook
  4. Like Brave on facebook.
  5. 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. 



  1. 1
    Lauren says:

    Oh what a fun giveaway! I’m glad you got to talk to the director…thanks for sharing. I am curious to see this film, so I hope I’ll get the chance.

  2. 2
    Helen says:

    I’m planning on seeing it tomorrow 🙂

  3. 3
    Helen says:

    I liked brave on facebook.

  4. 4
    Helen says:

    I’m following you on twitter (@idisneygirl)

  5. 5
    Helen says:
  6. 6
    Debi says:

    love love it! our whole family is going together on monday! cant wait!!

  7. 7
    Joey M says:

    I am so watching the movie. Haven’t seen it yet, but I am so excited.

  8. 8
    Sally Mahon says:

    We saw it last night and loved it! Great music and scenery. We were glad to see that it was not just another story that glorified k

  9. 9
    tess says:

    oh yes- i want to see the movie with my kiddos
    tcogbill at live dot com

  10. 10
    Jennifer Bryant says:

    Took James to see it on Friday. He’d initially been completely unenthusiastic about the movie, given that it involved a princess and he’s very anti-Disney princess. Then we saw a trailer before The Avengers that featured the bear, and he decided maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. And we LOVED it!!! Met a friend and her daughter there (James: THIS IS NOT A DATE, MOMMY!!! ;-), and we all thought it was just terrific.

    BTW, I put in a Friend request on Facebook and you’ve not responded. My feelings are hurt. 😉

  11. 11
    Daniel M says:

    I WILL be going to see it, when i find the time

  12. 12
    lala r says:

    planning to see it this weekend
    amramazon280 at yahoo dot com

  13. 13
    lala r says:
  14. 14
    lala r says:

    pinterest follower
    amramazon280 at yahoo dot com

  15. 15
    lala r says:

    your fb liker
    amramazon280 at yahoo dot com

  16. 16
    lala r says:

    brave fb liker
    amramazon280 at yahoo dot com

  17. 17
    lisa says:

    we loved the whole story; and my girls loved the dresses 🙂

  18. 18
    lisa says:

    Like you on FB Lisa w

  19. 19
    lisa says:

    Follow on pintrest Lisa W

  20. 20
    lisa says:

    Follow on Twitter @MONKEYMOM8105

  21. 21
    lisa says:
  22. 22
    lala r says:
  23. 23
    deanna says:

    haven’t seen it, but sure going to!

  24. 24
    deanna says:

    follow on pinterest (http://pinterest.com/dlw47/)

  25. 25
    deanna says:

    like you on FB as deanna time

  26. 26
    deanna says:

    like Brave on FB as deanna time

  27. 27
    deanna says:
  28. 28
    lala r says:
  29. 29
    lala r says:
  30. 30
    Brooke says:

    I saw the midnight premier with about 15 of my friends. My favorite part probably has to be when Merida walks into the room of fighting men just like her mother. It reminds me that even though I may not want to sometimes, I’ll probably end up much like the amazing person I call “mom”

  31. 31
    Brooke says:

    Followed on Pinterest

  32. 32
    Brooke says:

    Followed on Twitter

  33. 33
    Brooke says:

    Still Living the Dream has been liked

  34. 34
    Brooke says:

    Brave was liked a couple months ago :]

  35. 35
    Brooke says:

    The giveaway has been tweeted

  36. 36
    VJ M. says:

    I have already seen the movie, and I don’t want to give any spoilers, so I’ll just say that I like the part in the forest at the end of the movie with Merida and her dad.

  37. 37
    VJ M. says:

    I follow on pinterest under VJ M.

  38. 38
    VJ M. says:

    I follow you on twitter @vantalee

  39. 39
    VJ M. says:

    I Like Still Living The Dream on facebook under VJ M.

  40. 40
    VJ M. says:

    I like Brave on fb under Vj M.

  41. 41
    VJ M. says:
  42. 42

    I tweeted https://twitter.com/dizfan904/status/220004390231228416

    I am planning on seeing this movie this weekend with my MOM! <3

  43. 43

    I liked you on Facebook

  44. 44

    I liked Brave on Facebook

  45. 45

    I am now following you on Pinterest!! 🙂

  46. 46

    I am following you on Twitter!! and THANK YOU for this opportunity to win this awesome Journal and Pen set!! It is unobtainable at the stores and is no longer offered on line!! 🙁 🙁 🙁

  47. 47
    Kathy Hanley says:

    My daughter wants to see this!

  48. 48
    Laura J says:

    We are taking the kids this weekend!

  49. 49
    Laura J says:

    I like Still living the dream on facebook

  50. 50
    Laura J says:

    I like brave on facebook!

  51. 51
    Michelle Bartley says:

    Took my 3 year old Granddaughter to see it! Olivia loved it,but the Bear scared her a little.When we got i8n the car she said Grandma I made it through the whole movie! memories that will last forever. 🙂

  52. 52
    Michelle Bartley says:

    Following you on Twitter @RascallFlatts

  53. 53
    christy r. says:

    I haven’t seen the movie yet, but it looks like a great movie. I love that she’s a redhead, too.

    Thanks for the Giveaway ! ! !

  54. 54
    christy r. says:

    I follow you on Pinterest.


  55. 55
    Michelle Bartley says:

    Follow you on Pinterest as Michelle Bartley

  56. 56
    christy r. says:


    I follow you on Twitter. I would love a follow back 🙂


    Thanks !

  57. 57
    Michelle Bartley says:
  58. 58
    Celebrate Woman says:
  59. 59

    Yes, we are going this weekend!

  60. 60
    christy r. says:
  61. 61
    Michelle Bartley says:

    Liked Still living The dream on Facebook 🙂

  62. 62
    Michelle Bartley says:

    Liked Brave On Facebook 🙂 🙂

  63. 63

    I follow you on Pinterest (Shanna Bailes)

    Shanna at mom caboodle dot com

  64. 64
    Celebrate Woman says:

    Like you on Facebook as Laura Gonchar

  65. 65
    Celebrate Woman says:

    Follow you on Twitter as @DiscoverSelf

  66. 66

    I follow you on Twitter (@momcaboodle)

    shanna at mom caboodle dot com

  67. 67
    Celebrate Woman says:

    Follow you on Pinterest as Celebrate Woman

  68. 68


    shanna at mom caboodle dot com

  69. 69
    Danielle Pontow says:

    I am taking my neices and cant wait to see.. looks amazing

  70. 70
    Danielle Pontow says:

    I liked brave on fb

  71. 71
    Teri S says:

    Darn! Why didn’t I read your blog before seeing the movie?!? I totally missed the last scene after the credits 🙁 will have to go back to see it again. Carly’s favorite part of the movie is when Merida is going through the woods and she is shooting the arrows! Awesome prize up for grab, thanks for posting!

  72. 72
    Cheryl says:

    What a great give-a-way! I am already a follower of you on FB.
    I really appreciated your review. I learned a couple of things about the film I haven’t heard any where else. I’m looking forward to seeing it.

  73. 73
    robin says:

    Sydney saw it and loved it, I hope to see it soon!

  74. 74
    emily says:

    I’m looking forward to watching a Brave princess show my girls how they are the creators of their own destinies! Love ur blog Jen!

  75. 75
    Kim Suarez says:

    My granddaughter, Chloe saw Brave for her 5th birthday last week. She said it was scary when the bear had Queen Elinor but that the movie had a happy ending! She was excited when she opened her present from her cousin, Kerigan it was a Princess Merida figurine set.

  76. 76
    Anastasia says:

    Planning on seeing it with son and daughter this weekend. Their Irish dance school had all kinds of promo material, and they’re very excited!

  77. 77
    Dawn says:

    Following you Pinterest!

  78. 78
    Dawn says:

    Following you on Twitter (dawnieslife)

  79. 79
    Tara says:

    I am following you on Pinterest (tara2126)

  80. 80
    Tara says:

    I am following you on twitter @_aspectacledowl

  81. 81
    Tara says:
  82. 82
    Tara says:

    I liked you on Facebook (Tara K.)

  83. 83
    Tara says:

    I liked Brave on FB (Tara K.)

  84. 84
    Kelly says:

    We saw it this week and loved it!

  85. 85
    Kelly says:

    Following you on pinterest.

  86. 86
    Barb K says:

    I have not seen the movie I need to read a little more about it. The story line sounds interesting.

  87. 87
    Barb K says:

    I Liked Still Living the Dream On Face Book.

  88. 88
    Barb K says:

    I Liked Brave On Face Book.

  89. 89
    sus says:

    I want to see it. Haven’t seen it yet.

  90. 90
    sus says:

    follow you on twitter (tnsnx)

  91. 91
    sus says:

    like you on fb (sus)

  92. 92
    sus says:

    like Brave on fb (sus)

  93. 93
    lala r says:
  94. 94
    Jennifer Bryant says:

    Liked Brave on FB.

  95. 95
    Jennifer Bryant says:

    Liked YOU on FB! 😉

  96. 96
    Ashlee Sheffield says:

    Oh no! I wish I knew about the after-credits scene! Although, to be fair, both me and my dad had to use the bathroom badly and left as soon as the credits started rolling. We’ve already agreed that we needed to see the movie again just to watch that scene. lol.

    I saw Brave recently and forked over extra money for the 3D version and I’m glad I did. The level of research and detail in this movie is incredible! I’m having such a hard time deciding what my favorite scene was; from the archery-on-horseback scene in the woods, the expression on baby Merida’s face when she receives her bow for the first time, that extra detail of adding a thistle flower to a tea tray, the Queen’s lullaby, etc. And I loved the way they handled the Witch so she came off as mysterious but well-meaning as well as hilarious. And the music! Who doesn’t love the music!?

    I adore the giveaway idea both as a new hardcore fan of the movie and as a collector of artistic journals, and having the Director’s autograph is the icing on the cake! I hope I win!!!!

  97. 97

    My wife, my (probably too young) daughter and I saw this on opening weekend. Not sure which of us was more excited. 😉 Loved it!

    On a completely unrelated note, my wife was working in TV production in NYC when I stole her away to Texas. You should talk.

  98. 98

    I’m following you on Pinterest. It under my name, but the url is http://pinterest.com/adaddyblog. You’ll note that I already had more than one “Brave” related pin. 🙂

  99. 99

    I was already following you on Twitter: http://twitter.com/adaddyblog.

  100. 100

    I “lliked” you on Facebook and left a comment: http://facebook.com/adaddyblog

  101. 101

    I got the PixarBrave Facebook app to work in IE (wasn’t working in Firefox) and found I’d already liked their page. Did I mention we are fans? 😉

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