Brave: Blu-ray + DVD Review
Kidzworld reviews Disney/Pixar’s Brave, now out for you to take home.
By: Lynn Barker
What if your mom had your life all planned out for you? Teen princess Merida is strong, feisty, an adventuress and, above all, free! Being forced to marry one of three, not-so-awesome suitors just doesn’t appeal to her. You could cut the mom/daughter tension with a knife. Can Merida and Mom heal the rift in their family before it’s too late?
Way back in medieval times, willful, smart and adventurous Scottish princess Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald) is freaked when her parents, especially mom Elinor (Emma Thompson) tell her that games will be held to determine which of the princes of three clans will win her hand in marriage.
Merida, an ace archer a la Katniss Everdeen, chooses archery as the test then embarrasses mom and dad when she outshoots all of the would-be husbands! Mom is really furious as are the heads of the three clans (Robbie Coltrane, Craig Ferguson and Kevin McKidd) and a clan war is on the horizon.
Hoping to change her mom’s mind about the betrothal and thus, change her own fate, Merida buys a spell from a weird old witch (Julie Walters) in the forest. Big change results with mom morphing into a bear! Merida must prevent the war and can only break the spell on mom by mending their relationship, but how? Oh yeah, and a scary demon bear that has terrorized the kingdom for years, is out to destroy mum-bear and the entire clan.
Special Features: a huge collection on two discs! We received the Ultimate Collector’s Edition containing Blu-ray, 3D Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
On Blu-ray Disc One:
Audio Commentary- Director Mark Andrews, co-director Steve Purcell, story supervisor Brian Larsen and editor Nick Smith really take every scene apart. Watch the movie alone first then this extensive commentary is worth a re-watch. Everything from choosing the voice cast to artwork, animation challenges, the music, Scottish locations inspiring the film and more are discussed.
Short Films- In La Luna, shown with Brave in theaters, a boy joins his dad and grandpa in the family business.. sweeping up stars that have crashed on the moon! In, The Legend of Mor'Du, Brave’s scary yet funny witch introduces this cool story about the demon bear’s origin. Although very different, both films are well-done and worth watching.
Behind the Scenes is a multi-part, “making-of” featurette. "Brave Old World" follows the Pixar team on a research trip to Scotland including the Highland Games. Wow, so that’s why the landscapes in the film are so rich and perfect. "Merida & Elinor" focuses on the two major characters, their design and relationship with Emma Thompson and Kelly Macdonald commenting. Very relatable!
"Bears" zeroes in on Mum-Bear and Mor’Du and their different looks. Cool. "Brawl in the Hall" takes apart the big fun, biting and slapping fight scene. The animators practice with broadswords to get the feel! Fun job! "Wonder Moss" shows why you should study math if you want to be a computer animator! Math formulas are used to create the detail of all the various mosses in the movie. This stuff is way more complicated than we think!
"Magic" is a cool feature exploring Scottish fairy tales and legends that lead to the Will-O-the-Wisps in the movie and more. "Clan Pixar" demonstrates how the artists and animators at the famous company have way too much fun researching Scottish customs and dress. They all actually wore kilts to work. Of course they work incredibly hard as well.
"Once Upon a Scene" offers various alternate versions of opening scenes and why there were rejected. There are over 100 short, deleted scenes in the movie. Some went as far as complete animation before having to be cut for story or length purposes. “Extended Scenes” features the director talking about and showing the things cut out of existing scenes, including some shots of Merida and Mor’Du thought to be too scary.
“Promotional Pieces” are actually like more deleted scenes. They are very cute and worth a one-time watch.
On Blu-ray Disc Two: Bonus
Fergus & Mor'Du: An Alternate Opening – This would seem to belong in the alternate scene area on the last disc but it is about Merida’s dad Fergus losing his leg to the demon bear in the snow. The director tells us they decided they needed to introduce their heroine Merida in the first scene instead.
Fallen Warriors is a montage of very short but nice shots that were fully-animated but cut out.
Dirty Hairy People – This funny featurette focuses on the dirty, hairy, grimy, tattered people of Scotland way back in 1066. It’s the first time Pixar has used really bad-looking teeth in a film. Animators tour real ancient toilets in a Scottish castle (uh, it’s a hole in the floor).
It is English... Sort Of helps us translate some of the Scottish brogue the voice actors use in the movie. Nice, since most of us missed what some of the characters were saying.
Angus – talks about designing Merida’s sweet, huge Clydesdale horse. Loved it.
The Tapestry shows us how hard it was to animate detailed weaving for the family tapestry.
Art Galleries - "Characters," "Color Keys," "Development Art," "Environments" and "Graphics" are all amazing in this beautiful film.
On the DVD – If you don’t have a Blu-ray player, the DVD includes the shorts La Luna and The Legend of Mor'Du as well as the director commentary.
This film looks and sounds amazing on Blu-ray and even DVD. Girls can certainly identify with mom/daughter disagreements that can, at times, almost destroy the relationship. It’s great to see an animated heroine who doesn’t need rescuing by a prince and can best most guys at all things considered masculine. Guys can also enjoy the movie of course on many levels.
Extras on the Blu-ray discs are especially detailed with many “how did they do that?” featurettes that let you in on just how much interesting work is required to make an animated film this detailed and accurate to a certain area and era. This one should really be added to your collection. We gave the movie four stars but this extensive home entertainment set gets 5.
Brave Blu-ray + DVD: