- “Change your fate.”
Brave is a 2012 American 3D CGI computer-animated adventure fantasy film Pixar Animation Studios produced, which was distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. It was written by Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, and Irene Mecchi, and directed by Andrews and Chapman and co-directed by Purcell. It is Pixar's 13th animated feature film. The film's voice cast features Kelly Macdonald, Julie Walters, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, and Robbie Coltrane. To make the most complex visuals possible, Pixar completely rewrote their animation system for the first time in 25 years. It is the first film to use the Dolby Atmos sound format. This was the 10th film to not use a sequel or prequel since Up.
In the film, set in the Scottish Highlands during the Middle Ages, a skilled archer named Merida defies an age-old custom, causing chaos in her kingdom and angering her mother, Elinor. After consulting a witch for help, Merida accidentally curses her mother and is forced to undo the spell herself before it is too late. Brave premiered on June 10, 2012, at the Seattle International Film Festival, and was released in North America on June 22, 2012, to both positive reviews and box office success.
Brave received mostly positive reviews, and the film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film and also won the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film. The film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film up against other Disney animated films such as Wreck-It Ralph and Frankenweenie.
The movie takes place in 10th century Scotland. Princess Merida is an incredibly skilled archer living in the Scottish kingdom of DunBroch with her mother Queen Elinor, and her father King Fergus. On Merida's sixth birthday, King Fergus gives Merida a short bow and arrow as a birthday present. After retrieving an arrow accidentally fired into the woods, where Merida sees some Will o' the Wisps, Merida's family is attacked by an ancient bear, Mor'du. Elinor and Merida flee, while Fergus and his men stay behind to battle the bear. The story cuts to around ten years later when the film learns that Fergus lost his left leg during the battle with Mor'du and has vowed to find Mor'du again and avenge his leg.
Ten years later, despite Elinor's intention of having sixteen-year-old Merida become a proper, royal, ladylike princess, Merida is determined to seek freedom and live her own life. One day, the Lords Macintosh, MacGuffin, and Dingwall arrive to present their sons for Merida's betrothal. After an argument, all three armies get into a brawl, which Elinor stops. She states that the challenge which the first-born of each clan would compete in would be decided by the fair maiden. Merida, hearing this, believes that the idea of the contestants being first-born is a loophole, so Merida chooses archery. The first two contestants lack skill, and Lord Dingwall's son wins by a fortunate mishap. Merida then steps forward with her bow and claims that she represents her clan as first-born and will be shooting to claim herself. Despite Elinor's objections, she shoots all three bull's-eyes, even splitting Dingwall's son's arrow, supposedly winning the contest.
Merida and Elinor have a falling out, with Elinor claiming Merida will still have to choose a suitor. Merida slashes the family tapestry in anger and Elinor throws Merida's bow into the fireplace. Merida runs away on her horse in tears as Elinor quickly retrieves the bow from the fire in regret. She again comes across Will O' the Wisps, small blue fairies that are said to lead you to your fate. Merida follows a trail of them to an old hut, where she finds a witch who claims she is nothing but a humble woodcarver because her last customers had some objections to her spells. The witch says she won't help Merida unless she buys a wood carving; in response, Merida buys the lot, trading for a necklace, but says she wants a spell that will change her fate as well. Merida asks for a spell that would change her mother, which she assumes will change her fate. The witch conjures a tart for Merida to give to her mother. On Merida's way out, the witch thinks she forgot to tell Merida something about the spell, but she and her cottage disappear when Merida turns around to ask what the witch was saying.
Back in DunBroch, Fergus is entertaining the lords, while Merida finds Elinor who was worried. After a brief conversation, Merida presents the tart to her mother, who takes a bite and immediately feels sick. Merida takes Elinor up to her room, where she rolls off her bed and Merida discovers that her mother has transformed into a bear. Fergus, downstairs in the hall, smells a bear, and he leads the lords upstairs. Merida and Elinor, with the help of her the young princes Harris, Hubert, and Hamish, manage to escape the castle without Fergus finding them, and she and her mother retreat into the forest back to the witch's cottage. The witch isn't present, but there is a cauldron where the witch appears and has left a cryptic message for Merida. She tells Merida that by the second sunrise the spell would be permanent unless Merida can repair a bond. Merida and her mother exit the cottage and find shelter for the night, wondering how they'll be able to fix the curse.
In the morning, Elinor has set out a breakfast of some found berries, which turn out to be poisonous, and some dirty water. Merida finds a river and takes the time to teach her mother how to catch fish. The two bond, seeing different sides of each other. While in the forest, Elinor suddenly acts as if she's about to attack Merida, but soon recovers as Merida remarks that her mother is turning into a true bear. They then come across some wisps and are led to the ruins of an old castle. Merida falls down a pit into an old throne room which she realizes is the palace of the four brothers from Elinor's story. She finds an old stone engraved with the four brothers, but finds a part with a brother had been cut off, as when Merida had cut the tapestry of her own family earlier. She realizes that the curse has happened before and that the brother who'd gone on his own path is now Mor'du. Then Merida is attacked by Mor'du who lives in the ruins, but with the help of her mother, she escapes.
Merida realizes Elinor will become just like Mor'du, turning into a real bear, if they don't break the spell. They travel back to DunBroch to sew the family tapestry back together, thinking that will break the spell. To get Elinor upstairs without being seen, Merida distracts her father and the lords who are fighting and thinking of starting a war on each other. From the back of the room, unseen, Bear Elinor uses makeshift sign language to help Merida give a speech that brings the kingdoms back together, in which she states that her mother had rewritten the ways of the kingdoms, that both she and the sons could marry whoever they wanted. Everyone rejoices and travels outside, leaving Merida and Elinor to make it up to the tapestry room. While trying to sew the tapestry, Fergus goes into his room and finds Elinor's ripped clothes and broken bed when she'd turned into a bear. Fergus, believing Elinor has been murdered, bursts into the tapestry room to tell Merida the news and finds Merida and Bear Elinor. Elinor assumes the disposition of a bear and fights with Fergus.
Merida tries to convince Fergus that the bear is his wife, Elinor, but Fergus says Merida is talking nonsense and locks her in the tapestry room to protect her. Fergus then sets off with the lords to capture Elinor, while Merida is stuck in the tapestry room. Then she finds that her younger brothers have also been turned into bear cubs from taking bites of the tart. Merida asks them to retrieve the key from their nursemaid Maudie, who has the key. The three retrieve the key and free their sister.
All four ride on Angus while Merida sews the tapestry. They follow the wisps to where Fergus has captured Elinor and tied her up. Fergus attempts to slay the bear, but Merida defends Elinor by fighting off Fergus, who still doesn't believe Merida. Then Mor'du encounters Merida and fights off Fergus and all the other soldiers who attempt to kill him. He then lunges for Merida but is fought off by Elinor who breaks free of the ropes. Mor'du and Elinor duel each other until Elinor smashes Mor'du into a rock, but wounds Elinor in the process. Mor'du gets up and is about to attack Merida when a standing stone falls on top of him, and he dies. Merida sees a wisp emerge from Mor'du's body; it apparates as the brother that had become the bear before fading away.
Then Merida rushes over to Elinor and puts the sewn tapestry on top of the bear. When the sun rises and Elinor doesn't turn back into human form, Merida throws herself around Elinor and reconciles, apologizing for what she had done and told her mother that she loves her. When the sun rises, Merida finds that Elinor is back in human form, and they both hug. The clans settle their arguments and go their separate ways. Meanwhile, Merida and Elinor ride out on their horses around Scotland, making their mother-daughter bond even stronger.
In the post-credits scene, the witch's crow and magic broom deliver the wood carvings to the castle, asking a stunned guard to sign the delivery note.
- Kelly Macdonald as Princess Merida, a princess who wants to break with tradition regarding marriage.
- Julie Walters as The Witch, a crafty woodcarver.
- Emma Thompson as Queen Elinor, Merida's mother.
- Billy Connolly as King Fergus, Merida's father.
- Kevin McKidd as Lord MacGuffin/Lord's son Young MacGuffin.
- Craig Ferguson as Lord Macintosh
- Robbie Coltrane as Lord Dingwall
- Steven Cree as Young Macintosh
- Callum O'Neill as Wee Dingwall
- Sally Kinghorn and Eilidh Fraser as Maudie
- Steve Purcell as The Crow
- Patrick Doyle as Martin
- John Ratzenberger as Gordon
- Mor'du, the film's main antagonist
- The Triplets (Harris, Hubert, and Hamish)
- Huge Warrior
- The Three Brothers
- The Ancient King
- Will O' the Wisps (or Wisps for short)
It is not clear from the film where in Scotland or when the film is set. The difficulty in assessing the historical setting stems from a number of anachronisms.
- Bears have likely been extinct in Scotland since the prehistoric era.
- Whilst the main bears in the film are magical, stuffed bears are also shown.
- Lord Macintosh is bedecked in Pictish woad paint, which was practiced between the 1st to 3rd centuries CE.
- Pictish stones are later being hinted as part of the Ancient Kingdom.
- Lord Dingwall claims his son fought off an armada of 10,000 Romans. The Romans attacked Scotland, by land, during the 2nd century CE, and had left the area entirely by the 5th century CE.
- Lord MacGuffin and Lord Macintosh both claim to have fought off Vikings, who raided Scotland between the 7th and 11th centuries CE.
- Castles were not found in Scotland until the 11th century CE, but castle DunBroch appears ruined.
- Highland Dancing probably started in the 13th century CE.
- Merida's tight dress is distinctly Renaissance Italian, from the 14th century CE.
- Bagpipes date from the 14th century CE.
- Haggis was not documented until the 15th century CE.
- Tartan was not worn until the early 16th century CE, belted kilts not being common until the end of the century, and single kilts not until the end of the next.
- The formal Highland games were a Victorian invention, from the 19th Century.
- The welding helmet, as used by the witch, was invented in 1937.
According to Katherine Sarafian, Brave is set in the 10th to 12th centuries CE.
Brave was first announced under the title of The Bear and the Bow. Other titles that had been considered include, among others The Bear King and his Daughter, Brave and the Bow, and Bravehair. The film, Pixar's first fairy tale, is a combination of Brenda Chapman's love of stories by Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, as well as a reflection on raising her daughter.
The film departs from the traditional fairy tale storyline, neglecting the romance that has been associated with these stories. It focuses on the relationship between Merida and her mother Queen Elinor, which was inspired by Chapman's relationship with her own daughter.
Chapman was supposed to be the film's sole director and Pixar's first female director. It was later reported that Pixar had replaced Chapman with Mark Andrews. Both Andrews and Chapman are both credited as the movie's directors. Following his involvement as director, Andrews cleared away many magic elements to focus on the core story. Chapman later stated that her vision "came through in the film” and that she remains "very proud of the movie."
The film was initially set for release on June 15, 2012, but was later changed to June 22, 2012.
Although the production of the film started in 2008, Brenda Chapman had already begun work years earlier. As early as in 2006, several members of the crew made a research trip in Scotland. They made two trips to Scotland for the film, visiting the Eilean Donan and Dunnottar Castles, as well as the Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis, which inspired the circle of standing stones that appears in the film.
To reproduce the lush and textured look of the landscapes of the Highlands, Pixar animators and designers created around 350 custom brushes in Photoshop, so that they could layer different designs, patterns, and shapes in layers to achieve a realistic and individual look to the environments.
Animators were introduced to the weapons used in the film in order to understand their working: some went into archery classes, while Andrews taught sword fighting to animators.
Originally, Reese Witherspoon was scheduled to voice Merida, but later she was unable to work on the film due to scheduling issues and failing to master a Scottish accent, so she had to leave and was replaced by Kelly Macdonald as a result.
Celtic and Pictish design and patterns have been integrated as decoration throughout the film—on Merida's bow, on clothing, on walls—and added to natural elements like snowflakes, moss, and tree branches.
The original idea had 80% of the scenes taking place in the snow. In the final movie, however, very few snow scenes remain.
Brave is rated PG by the MPAA for some scary action and rude humor, making it the third Pixar film to receive this rating, the first being The Incredibles, the second being Up, the fourth being Inside Out and the fifth being The Good Dinosaur.
The film was initially set for release on June 15, 2012, but was later changed to June 22, 2012. On April 3, 2012, Pixar screened the first 30 minutes of the movie, and it received a positive reaction by its screeners. It had its Australian premiere on June 11, 2012, at the Sydney Film Festival, and had its domestic premiere on June 18, 2012, at the new Dolby Theater in Hollywood as part of the Los Angeles Film Festival, its European premiere was at the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily on June 23, 2012, and its British premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on June 30, 2012.
In the United States and Canada, Brave is the first feature-length film to use the Dolby Atmos sound format. Almost half of the 14 theaters set up to show the film in Atmos are in California (Burbank, Century City, Fremont, Hollywood, San Francisco, and Sherman Oaks), with the others located in seven states (Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Kansas City, Missouri, Paramus, New Jersey, Las Vegas, Nevada, Chicago, West Plano, Texas, Vancouver, Washington), and in Toronto, Ontario. It was released in other theaters with Dolby Surround 7.1. In total, it was released in 4,164 theaters, a record-high for Pixar, which was previously held by Cars 2 (4,115 theaters). 2,790 of the theaters will include 3D shows.
Brave has received mostly positive reviews from film critics. On April 3, 2012, Pixar screened the first 30 minutes of the movie, and it received a positive reaction by the test audience.
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 78% of critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 7/10 based on 229 reviews. One consensus statement reads, "Brave offers young audiences and fairy tale fans a rousing, funny fantasy adventure with a distaff twist and surprising depth." Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 69 based on 37 reviews, or "generally favorable reviews".
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 out of 4 stars and wrote, "The good news is that the kids will probably love it, and the bad news is that parents will be disappointed if they're hoping for another Pixar groundbreaker." He said that the film had an uplifting message about improving communication between mothers and daughters.
Peter Debruge of Variety gave a positive review of the film, remarking that the film "offers a tougher, more self-reliant heroine for an era in which princes aren't so charming, set in a sumptuously detailed Scottish environment where her spirit blazes bright as her fiery red hair." Debruge also said that "Adding a female director Brenda Chapman to its creative boys' club, the studio has fashioned a resonant tribute to mother-daughter relationships that packs a level of poignancy on par with such beloved male-bonding classics as Finding Nemo."
Conversely, Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter said that the film "diminishes into a rather wee thing as it chugs along, with climactic drama that is both too conveniently wrapped up and hinges on magical elements that are somewhat confusing to boot."
The film score to Brave was composed by Patrick Doyle. To bring some of Scotland's native flavor to the music, Doyle used native Scottish instruments such as bagpipes, a solo fiddle, Celtic harps, flutes and the bodhrán, with an electronically treated dulcimer and cimbalom to give it a more contemporary feel. "I employed many classic Scottish dance rhythms such as reels, jigs, and strathspeys, which not only serve the action but keep it authentic," said Doyle. Doyle had also written a drinking song for King Fergus and was traveling back and forth to Scotland for research. The composer has also been recording "unaccompanied Gaelic psalm singing." In addition to Patrick Doyle's music, the film features three original songs. "Touch the Sky" (music by Alex Mandel, lyrics by Mark Andrews & Mandel) and "Into the Open Air" (music and lyrics by Alex Mandel) are both performed by Julie Fowlis. Mumford & Sons contributed the song "Learn Me Right" with Birdy to the film soundtrack.
As of January 17, 2013, the film had earned $237,283,207 in North America, and $298,100,000 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $535,379,132. Worldwide, it is the 21st highest-grossing animated film and the 91st highest-grossing film. It is also the seventh highest-grossing Pixar film, the third highest-grossing 2012 animated film in worldwide gross (behind Ice Age: Continental Drift and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted), and the eighth highest-grossing film of 2012.
In North America, pre-release tracking suggested the film would open between $55 million to $65 million in North America, which is slightly below average for a Pixar film. Trackers suggested that the film might not appeal to the male demographic, whereas the female protagonist was expected to draw females of all ages, and 3D was expected to boost earnings.
It opened on June 22, 2012, with $24.6 million. It finished its opening weekend with $66.3 million at the upper end of the numbers analysts predicted. This was the fourth-largest opening weekend in June and the fifth-largest for a Pixar film. Despite pre-release tracking indications, the audience was estimated to be 43% male and 57% female. In North America, it is the eighth highest-grossing Pixar film, the highest-grossing 2012 animated film, and the eighth highest-grossing film of 2012.
Outside North America, the film earned $14.0 million from 10 markets on its opening weekend, finishing in third place behind Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted and Snow White and the Huntsman. Overall, its largest openings occurred in France and the Maghreb region ($6.50 million), Mexico ($5.53 million), and Russia and the CIS ($5.37 million). In total earnings, its highest-grossing countries were the UK, Ireland and Malta ($34.9 million), France and the Maghreb region ($26.8 million), and Mexico ($21.6 million).
- Main article: Brave (video)
Brave was released on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, and digital download on November 13, 2012. It will be accompanied by La Luna and a new short film, The Legend of Mor'du. Exploring the history of antagonist Mor'du, the direct-to-video short will give fans the chance to delve deeper into the legend behind Mor'du, as told by the eccentric witch who transformed him.
A video game based on the film was published by Disney Interactive Studios on June 19, 2012, for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC, and Nintendo DS. A mobile video game Temple Run: Brave, a Brave variation of Temple Run, was released on June 14, 2012, for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Android. Also, Merida was a playable character in the game Disney Infinity 2.0.
|85th Academy Awards||Best Animated Feature||Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman||Won|
|Alliance of Women Film Journalists||Best Animated Female||Merida - Kelly Macdonald|
|American Cinema Editors||Best Edited Animated Feature Film||Nicolas C. Smith, A.C.E.|
|Annie Awards||Best Animated Feature||Nominated|
|Animated Effects Feature Production||Bill Watral, Chris Chapman, Dave Hale, Keith Klohn, Michael K. O'Brien|
|Character Animation Feature Production||Dan Nguyen|
|Music in an Animated Feature Production||Patrick Doyle, Mark Andrews, Alex Mandel|
|Production Design in an Animated Feature Production||Steve Pilcher||Won|
|Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production||Kelly Macdonald as Merida||Nominated|
|Writing in an Animated Feature Production||Brenda Chapman, Irene Mecchi, Mark Andrews, and Steve Purcell|
|Editorial in an Animated Feature Production||Nicholas A. Smith, ACE, Robert Graham Jones, ACE, David Suther||Won|
|BAFTA Awards||Best Animated Film|
|Chicago Film Critics Association||Best Animated Feature||Nominated|
|Cinema Audio Society||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Motion Pictures Animated||Won|
|Critics' Choice Awards||Best Animated Feature||Nominated|
|Best Song||Mumford & Sons and Birdy for Learn Me Right|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Animated Feature Film||Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman||Won|
|Grammy Awards||Best Song Written for Visual Media||Mumford & Sons and Birdy for the song Learn Me Right||Nominated|
|Houston Film Critics Society||Best Animated Film|
|Best Original Song||Learn Me Right|
|Touch the Sky|
|Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Animated Movie|
|Online Film Critics Society||Best Animated Feature|
|Phoenix Film Critics Society||Best Animated Film|
|Producers Guild of America||Animated Theatrical Motion Picture||Katherine Sarafian|
|San Diego Film Critics Society||Best Animated Film|
|Satellite Awards||Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media|
|Original Song||"Learn Me Right" – Mumford & Sons and Birdy|
|Saturn Awards||Best Animated Film||Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman|
|St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association||Best Animated Film|
|Toronto Film Critics Association||Best Animated Feature|
|Visual Effects Society||Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture||Mark Andrews, Steve May, Katherine Sarafian, Bill Wise||Won|
|Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture||Travis Hathaway, Olivier Soares, Peter Sumanaseni, Brian Tindall|
|Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture||Tim Best, Steve Pilcher, Inigo Quilez, Andy Whittock|
|Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture||Chris Chapman, Dave Hale, Michael K. O'Brien, Bill Watral|
|Washington DC Area Film Critics Association||Best Animated Feature||Nominated|
|Women Film Critics Circle||Best Animated Females||Won|
Scottish publication The Scotsman asked director Mark Andrews on the notion of a sequel. Andrews said, "I don't know if there will be another one. We never make a film at Pixar to have a sequel. It is always nice when you do, and we kind of have a philosophy that if we find the right story then we will."
- This is the first Pixar movie to have a female protagonist followed by Inside Out, Finding Dory, and Incredibles 2.
- This is also Pixar's first fairy tale and their first film to take on the fantasy genre (not really counting Monsters Inc. as it appears takes on more of the science fiction genre than it does fantasy).
- This is the second official Pixar movie to focus solely on a human cast, the first being The Incredibles with the third being its sequel Incredibles 2.
- This is the first Pixar movie in which the villain has no dialogue.
- Mark Andrews confirmed that the Pizza Planet truck, as well as Pixar's other traditional Easter eggs, appear in Brave: "All the typical things, those little insider jokes are all in the movie." It was reported that Tia Kratter, art director of the film, has hinted during her presentation at the D23 Expo that the truck would be in the Witch's house.
- On Fridays, the animators had to wear kilts as part of their work routine.
- During the Brave Press Event (held April 3–5, 2012), it was stated that 111,394 storyboards were created for the film, compared to 80,000 for Cars 2 and 92,854 for Toy Story 3.
- There are more than 100 unique hair/facial hair combinations used in Brave for human characters and animals. Each variant can appear in any of nine different colors, creating more than 900 hairstyle/color variants.
- Brave's logo include a stylized representation of Merida in the "B" and of Queen Elinor in the "E".
- The end credits of the movie include a special tribute to Steve Jobs, who died on October 5, 2011 of pancreatic cancer.
- John Ratzenberger, having appeared in every Pixar film to date, was the only American voice actor in Brave; all other voice actors were British.
- Brave is the fourth Pixar film in which any of its songs (in the body of the film) are sung by characters; Merida and her mother sing "Noble Maiden Fair", and King Fergus and other men sing "Song of Mor'du", the first being Toy Story 2 (in which a Woody puppet sings "You've Got a Friend in Me" on a television, and later, so does Wheezy with Barbie dolls in the background), the second being Monsters, Inc. when, at one time, Mike and Sulley sing part of "Put that Thing Back where It Came from (Or So Help Me)" and the third being Finding Nemo, in which Mr. Ray sings "Let's Name the Species" and while Dory sings "Just keep Swimming".
- The tapestry of Merida, Elinor, and Fergus is seen in car version in Cars 2.
- Brave is the first Pixar movie to have one of its characters to be part of the Disney Princess line-up.
- Brave is the second PG-rated Disney Princess film, after Tangled.
- Brave is the first Disney Princess film not to have its theme song in English.
- Sulley from Monsters Inc. can be spotted on a carving in the witch's cottage.
- This film marks the first time a different composer than Randy Newman, Thomas Newman, or Michael Giacchino has composed a music score for a feature-length Pixar film. However, it is currently the only feature-length Pixar film to have its music score composed by a non-recurring composer.
- Despite its PG rating, the film's Disney XD airings blur out the comical nudity, due to inappropriate material for a television broadcast.
- It was the first Disney movie ever to be dubbed into Vietnamese.
- This is the fourth Pixar Animation Studios film in which the closing logo cuts in from black, after WALL-E, Up, and Cars 2.
- This is the first Pixar film to use the 2011 Disney logo; the first non-Pixar film to use it was The Muppets.