MOVIE REVIEW: Mother, daughter give ‘Brave’ its heart

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

The creative team at Pixar has proven its ability to tell quality stories time after time.
If Pixar makes it, I’m there, so I walked into the theater on Saturday expecting to be entertained.
Set in Scotland, “Brave” travels slightly different territory than past Pixar flicks in that our hero is actually a heroine. Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) is a wild child with flaming red hair and a stubborn streak that runs deeper than a Scottish loch.
But Merida is a princess, which means she has responsibilities that affect the rest of the kingdom. Her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), tries to teach Merida to be a proper lady, but every interaction they have drives them further apart.
After a furious ride through the forest, Merida finds a magical answer that might help her avoid the arranged marriage her mother has planned for her. Unintended consequences cause comedy and drama throughout the castle and surrounding countryside.
The mother-daughter relationship remains at the center of “Brave” from start to finish. That’s a change from other Disney princess stories, where there’s usually a romantic entanglement at the heart of the story. (Disney owns Pixar).
This willingness to play with expectations adds a freshness to “Brave,” but there’s some predictability with the ending and how the magical problem is solved.
Scotland is beautifully rendered, from the craggy mountains to the mysterious forest. The landscape of “Brave” is a place I’d very much like to visit, and knowing a little bit about how Pixar works, I’d wager many of the settings were drawn directly from real life.
“Brave” is a funny and touching adventure story with a good dose of fantasy and magic. It’s not my pick as the best Pixar film ever made, but it’s a worthy addition to the canon.
I give “Brave” an A minus.
It’s showing at the Cinemark in Tupelo, as well as Malcos in Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville and Movie Reel 4 in New Albany.
Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.

Wizard review
“Roadkill” Bill with Wizard 106.7 gives “Brave” a B plus.
“It’s a visually beautiful movie, and I had a whole lot of fun.”