Pixar has raised the standards sky high and it's probably understandable that not every day's Sunday here with Brave. Visually enticing and fantastically imaginative, it sufficiently inspires the adolescents with healthy themes such as domestic harmony and the right to seek self identity. Adults shouldn't find themselves disappointed either with the entertaining tale voiced by some memorable cast ensemble.
Directed by Mark Andrews (The Incredibles, Ratatouille, John Carter of Mars) and Brenda Chapman (The Lion King, Prince of Egypt), and produced by Katherine Sarafian (Lifted, The Incredibles), Brave is a grand adventure full of heart, memorable characters and the signature Pixar humour enjoyed by audiences of all ages.
Set in Scotland in a rugged and mythical time, "Brave" features Merida, an aspiring archer and impetuous daughter of royalty. Merida makes a reckless choice that unleashes unintended peril and forces her to spring into action to set things right.
For a change, allow this opinion to start off with the music credits of the animated feature film. What makes Brave so distinct in cultural setting by opinion is the original music composed by Patrick Doyle (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Thor, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). Leaving a huge impression with the Irish-flavoured tunes dancing the film forward in various atmospheres ranging from festivity to dark forest, it's always pleasant to witness notes of originality in a movie soundtrack.
Besides music, another aural element also instilled impression. The voice actors of Brave renders a high degree of authenticity and character with Irish-accented narration and majestic personalities. The courageous young princess Merida is well-roled by a feisty Kelly Macdonald while the jovial yet masculine Lord Fergus, voiced by Billy Connolly, highly entertains and captivates with his magnetic onscreen presence.
A series of likeable supporting characters also join in the fun with the likes of the 3 Lords who intends to submit their first-born sons to the traditional games in aim of winning the hand of Princess Merida. There's also Merida's three adorable toddling brothers who charms despite little words.
However, the main story ensues between Merida and her mother, Queen Elinor (voiced by Emma Thompson). Brave takes on teenage issues between a mother and daughter amidst an Irish lordship era where roles were traditionally allocated for both the males and females respectively. There's possibly a thousand and one things that are forbidden for a Princess' demeanour, thus a thousand and one reasons (possibly more) to rebel as a troubled youth.
Without dwelling too deep into the core of rebellion, Brave soon wades towards a quick separation between the two and sees trouble manifest within, unintentionally as the children-healthy genre always do. The transition feels a little too soon and rushed, thus the immediate reflection against other established Pixar productions such as Toy Story and Finding Nemo.
Technical production values soar as they should with juicy looking visuals treating the audience all the way, although no comments on 3D as this viewing was not based upon one. Sound is also mastered in Dolby Surround 7.1, therefore you may wish to enter one of those 7.1 enabled theatre halls to fully immerse yourself in the animated feature film.
There is also great incentives for one to admit early and leave late, for there's a animated short La Luna and some brief post-credit roll scenes to be seen. While definitely not one of the top notch Pixar animated features, it doesn't fail as one either.
(Photography source: Disney Studios Singapore)