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Brave is a 2012 American computer-animated fantasy comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. It was written by Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, and Irene Mecchi, directed by Andrews and Chapman[1] and co-directed by Purcell. 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.[2] It is the first film to use the Dolby Atmos sound format.

In the film, set in the Scottish Highlands, a skilled archer named Merida defies an age-old custom, causing chaos in her kingdom. After consulting a witch for help, Merida accidentally transforms her mother into a bear 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. The film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Film,[3][4] the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film,[5] and the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film.[6]

Preceding the film is a short film entitled La Luna, directed by Enrico Casarosa.[7]

PlotEdit

In Scotland, King Fergus of Clan Dunbroch presents his young daughter Merida with a bow for her birthday. While practising, Merida encounters a will-o'-the-wisp. Soon afterwards, Mor'du, a giant demon bear, attacks the family. Merida escapes along with her mother Queen Elinor while Fergus fights off the bear at the cost of his left leg. Years later, Merida has become a free-spirited 16-year-old and an older sister of identical triplets: Hamish, Harris and Hubert. Elinor informs her that she is to be betrothed to one of her father's allied clans. Reminding Merida of a legend about a prince who ruined his own kingdom, Elinor warns her that failure to marry could harm Dunbroch, but Merida is dissatisfied with the arrangement.

The clans of Macintosh, MacGuffin and Dingwall arrive with their first-born sons to compete in the Highland Games for Merida's hand. Merida announces she is eligible to compete for her own hand as the first-born of Clan Dunbroch and defeats each of her suitors in an archery contest, which she chose. Later, Elinor scolds at Merida about her future and disobeying the rules, but Merida only leaves in anger and desperation. At the forest, Merida comes across the will-o'-the-wisps and is lead to the hut of an elderly witch posing as a wood carver. The old woman tries to deny that she is a witch, but after some bargaining, the witch agrees to give the princess a spell to change her mother in the form of a cake.

Merida returns to the castle and gives Elinor the cake, but instead of changing her mind about the marriage, it transforms her into a large black bear. Realizing she has made matters worse for herself, with the help of her brothers, Merida and Elinor return to the witch's now deserted cottage (sinece Merida bought all the witch's carvings with her necklace) where they discover that the spell will be permanent unless undone before the second sunrise. The witch leaves Merida a riddle, mentioning that she must "mend the bond torn by pride." Merida and Elinor warmly bond together as they search for food. After encountering the wisps again, the two follow them to ancient ruins and encounter Mor'du, who they discover was once the prince in Elinor's legend who received a similar spell from the witch. Merida vows to her mother that she will not become a wild animal like Mor'du. Having torn a hole between herself and her mother on her family tapestry and their family bond in anger, Merida theorizes that she can reverse the spell by repairing the tapestry.

At the castle, the clans are on the verge of war, but Merida quells their fighting and, with the encouragement of her mother, the princess states that the children should be allowed to get married in their own time to whomever they choose. The clans agree, renewing and strengthening their friendships and breaking tradition. Merida then sneaks into the tapestry room with Elinor, who is losing control of her human self. Fergus enters the bed chamber and is attacked by Elinor until she regains human consciousness. After Elinor races out of the castle in desperation, Fergus gives chase. With the help of her brothers, who have transformed into bear cubs by eating the cake, Merida rides after her father while sewing up the tapestry. The clan members and Fergus capture Elinor, but Merida intervenes just before Mor'du attacks. Just as Mor'du is about to kill Merida, Elinor saves her and a menhir crushes Mor'du to death, releasing the prince's spirit.

At the second sunrise, Merida realizes the true meaning of the witch's riddle after placing the tapestry over Elinor and she reconciles with her mother. The queen is transformed back along with the triplets, and the family is reunited. A few days later, Merida and Elinor are sewing a new tapestry together of Merida and Elinor as a bear until they are called to the docks to say goodbye to the Lords. Then they both ride on their horses and journey around Scotland making their bond stronger than before.

In a post-credits scene, the witch's crow delivers some wood carvings to the castle, which Merida simultaneously bought with the spell.

Voice castEdit

  • Frank Welker as Mor'du (the evil bear),[11] Angus (Merida's horse),[11] and Harris, Hubert, and Hamish (Merida's triplet brothers).(Uncreated)[12]

ProductionEdit

Announced in April 2008 as The Bear and the Bow,[13] Brave is Pixar's first fairy tale.[14][15][16] Brenda Chapman considers it a fairy tale in the tradition of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm,[17] and was also inspired by her relationship with her daughter.[18] Chapman conceived the project and was announced as the film's director, making her Pixar's first female director,[19] but in October 2010, she was replaced by Mark Andrews following creative disagreements.[20] Chapman found the news of her replacement "devastating", but later stated that her “vision came through in the film” and that she remains “very proud of the movie, and that I ultimately stood up for myself.”[18][21] Brave is the first Pixar film starring a female protagonist,.[1] Merida was originally to be voiced by Reese Witherspoon,[22] who declined due to scheduling issues. Instead, the character was voiced by Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald.[1]

The end credits include a special tribute to Pixar co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, who died in 2011.[23]

MusicEdit

Main article: Brave (soundtrack)

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.[24] 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."[25]

In addition to 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, who provides Merida's off-screen singing voice. Mumford & Sons contributed the song "Learn Me Right" with Birdy to the film soundtrack.

Walt Disney Records released the soundtrack on both CD album and digital download on June 19, 2012.[26]

ReleaseEdit

The film was initially set for release on June 15, 2012, but it was later changed to June 22, 2012.[27] On April 3, 2012, Pixar screened the film's first thirty minutes, and it received a positive reaction by its screeners.[28] The film premiered on the last day of the Seattle International Film Festival on June 10, 2012.[29] It had its Australian premiere on June 11, 2012, at the Sydney Film Festival,[30] and had its domestic premiere on June 18, 2012, at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre as part of the Los Angeles Film Festival,[31] its European premiere was at the Taormina Film Festival on 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.[32] 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.[33] 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).[34] 2,790 of the theaters included 3D shows.[35]

Home mediaEdit

Brave was released on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, and digital download on November 13, 2012. It is accompanied with La Luna and a new short film The Legend of Mor'du.[36] Exploring the history of 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.[37]

ReceptionEdit

Critical responseEdit

Brave received positive reviews from critics. The film holds a 78% approval rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 214 reviews with an average rating of 6.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Brave offers young audiences and fairy tale fans a rousing, funny fantasy adventure with a distaff twist and surprising depth."[38] 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."[39] The film was also well-received among the American audience, earning an "A" CinemaScore.[40]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 out of 4 stars. He 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. Unlike such brightly original films as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, WALL-E, and Up, this one finds Pixar poaching on traditional territory of Disney." He said that the film did have an uplifting message about improving communication between mothers and daughters, "although transforming your mother into a bear is a rather extreme first step."[41] 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 [Pixar] 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."[42] Conversely, Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter gave it a negative review, stating 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."[43]

Box officeEdit

Brave earned $237,283,207 in North America, and $317,323,325 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $554,606,532.[44] It is the thirteenth highest-grossing film of 2012,[45] the eighth highest-grossing Pixar film,[46] and the third highest-grossing animated film that year behind Ice Age: Continental Drift ($875.3 million) and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted ($742.1 million).

In North America, pre-release tracking suggested the film would open between $55 million to $65 million in North America,[47][48] which is slightly below average for a Pixar film.[35] Trackers suggested that the film might not appeal to the male demographic,[35] whereas the female protagonist was expected to draw females of all ages, and 3D was expected to boost earnings.[49]

It opened on June 22, 2012, with $24.6 million. It finished its opening weekend with $66.3 million (the same amount as Cars 2, Pixar's previous film) at the upper end of the numbers analysts predicted.[50] This was the fourth largest opening weekend in June,[51] and the fifth largest for a Pixar film.[52] Despite pre-release tracking indications, the audience was estimated to be 43% male and 57% female.[40] In North America, it is the eighth highest-grossing Pixar film,[46] the highest-grossing 2012 animated film,[53] and the eighth highest-grossing film of 2012.[54]

Outside North America, the film earned $14 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.[55] Overall, its largest openings occurred in France and the Maghreb region ($6.5 million), Mexico ($5.53 million), and Russia and the CIS ($5.37 million). In total earnings, its highest-grossing countries were the U.K., Ireland and Malta ($34.9 million), France and the Maghreb region ($26.8 million), and Mexico ($21.6 million).[56]

AccoladesEdit

List of awards and nominations
Award Category Winner/Nominee Result
Academy Awards[4] Best Animated Feature Film of the Year Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman rowspan=4 Template:Won
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Best Animated Feature
Best Animated Female Kelly Macdonald (Merida)
American Cinema Editors Best Edited Animated Feature Film Nicholas C. Smith, A.C.E.
Annie Awards[57][58] Best Animated Feature rowspan=6 Template:Nom
Animated Effects Feature Production Bill Watral, Chris Chapman, Dave Hale, Keith Klohn, Michael K. O’Brien
Character Animation Feature Production Dan Nguyen
Jaime Landes
Travis Hathaway
Music in an Animated Feature Production Patrick Doyle, Mark Andrews, Alex Mandel
Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Steve Pilcher Template:Won
Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Kelly Macdonald as Merida rowspan=2 Template:Nom
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 rowspan=2 Template:Won
BAFTA Awards[6] Best Animated Film
Chicago Film Critics Association Best Animated Feature Template:Nom
Cinema Audio Society Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Motion Pictures Animated Template:Won
Critics' Choice Awards[59] Best Animated Feature rowspan=2 Template:Nom
Best Song Mumford & Sons and Birdy for Learn Me Right
Golden Globe Awards[60] Best Animated Feature Film Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman Template:Won
Grammy Awards[61] Best Song Written for Visual Media Mumford & Sons and Birdy for the song "Learn Me Right" rowspan=11 Template:Nom
Houston Film Critics Society Best Animated Film
Best Original Song Lean Me Right
Touch the Sky
International Film Music Critics Association Awards Best Original Score for an Animated Feature Patrick Doyle
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[62] Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media
Original Song Learn Me RightBirdy and Mumford & Sons
Saturn Awards[63] Best Animated Film Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman Template:Pending
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Best Animated Film rowspan=2 Template:Nom
Toronto Film Critics Association Best Animated Feature
Visual Effects Society[64] Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve May, Katherine Sarafian, Bill Wise rowspan=4 Template:Won
Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture - Merida Kelly Macdonald, Travis Hathaway, Olivier Soares, Peter Sumanaseni, Brian Tindall
Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture - The Forest 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 Template:Nom
Women Film Critics Circle Best Animated Females Kelly Macdonald (Merida), Emma Thompson (Queen Elinor), Julie Walters (The Witch) and all other female characters in Brave. Template:Won

Video gameEdit

Main article: Brave (video game)

A video game based on the film was published by Disney Interactive Studios on June 19, 2012,[65] for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC, and Nintendo DS.[66] A mobile video game Temple Run: Brave (a Brave variation of Temple Run) was released on June 14, 2012, for iOS and Android.[67]

SequelEdit

Scottish publication 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. Surely the marketing and success of Brave says that you can have one and they will come."[68]

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