I just returned from the world premiere of the new Disney/Pixar film, Brave. I've had a whirlwind couple of days interviewing the voice talent, director Mark Andrews and producer Katherine Sarafian, as well as seeing a screening of People Like Us (more on all of that very soon), but what is fresh on my mind is Merida, a strong willed teenager with a fierce sense of self that will soon win the hearts of families when it hit theaters in a few days.
Taking place in the Highlands of Scotland, this refreshing and gorgeously animated new film does not follow the typical pinning for a prince scenario, but rather focuses on a complex mother/daughter relationship and its many levels as both are trying to get the other to listen and understand one another. I really loved this dynamic as Merida (voiced by Kelly MacDonald) is trying to get her mother, Elinor (voiced by Emma Thompson) to understand that she wants to create her own path in life and choose her own fate. As a result Merida defies a sacred custom and turns to a witch to grant an ill-fated wish that sets the tone and impetus as the characters learn what it means to be honest, open, and ultimately brave.
Without giving too much away, Merida and Elinor are brought together in a unique situation where they have to work together and let their pride go.
Through it all, I was captivated by the gorgeous animation that showcased the grandiose castle, unique characters, beautiful greenery and the mountains in Scotland. Additionally, the film was full of incredible characters (and their many facial expressions), heartwarming moments and humor that made it so poignant as it touched on the complexity of family and what it means to be brave - whether you are child, teenager or adult.
As Disney Pixar's first heroine, Merida and her fierce personality (and hair!) was incredibly entertaining to watch and I love that this headstrong and determined princess is the new positive role model for girls as she teaches them how to stand up for what they believe, and that is a message that I can't wait to share with my own daughter.
Brave will be out in theaters on June 22, 2012, and presented in Disney Digital 3D'?¢ in select theaters.
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All accommodations and airfare are being paid for by Disney.