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Brave
Brave poster
Final release poster
Film information
Directed by: Mark Andrews
Brenda Chapman
Steve Purcell (co-director)
Produced by: Katherine Sarafian
Written by: Brenda Chapman
Music by: Patrick Doyle
Editing by: Nicholas C. Smith
Studio: Pixar
Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date(s): June 22, 2012 (United States & Canada)
August 3, 2012 (Scotland)
Running time: 93 minutes
Language: English
Gross Revenue: $535,379,132
"Change your fate"
—Tagline

Brave is a 2012 American 3D CGI computer-animated adventure fantasy 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, and directed by Andrews and Chapman 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. It is the first film to use the Dolby Atmos sound format.

In the film, set in the Scottish Highlands during the Medieval period, 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. The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film and won the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film. The film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film up against other Disney films such as Wreck-It Ralph and Frankenweenie .

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

Plot

The movie takes place in Scotland during the 10th century. Princess Merida is an incredibly skilled archer and princess 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 shortbow 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 are attacked by an ancient bear, Mor'du. Elinor and Merida flee, while Fergus stays to battle the bear. The story cuts to about ten years later, when we learn 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, Lords Macintosh, MacGuffin, and Dingwall present their sons to marry Merida. 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 fortunate mishap. But then Merida steps forward with her bow and claims that she represents her clan as first-born and will be shooting to claim herself. She shoots the three bull's-eyes over Elinor's objections, splitting Dingwall's son's arrow, supposedly winning the contest.

Merida and Elinor have a falling out, with Elinor claiming that 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. Merida 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 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 witches 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 lead 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, like 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 war on each other. From the back fo 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 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 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 telling her mother that she loves her.. When the sun is up, Merida finds that Elinor is back in human form, and they both hug. the family and everyone rejoices. The clans settle their arguments and they 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.

Cast

Voice cast

Non-Speaking Characters

Production

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 own relationship with her 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 texture 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 Princess Merida, but later she was unable to work on the film due to scheduling issues 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.

Rating

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 and the second being Up.

Release

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 Theatre in Hollywood as part of the Los Angeles Film Festival, its European premiere was at the Taormina Film Festival in Sicilly 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.

Reception

Critical response

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 6.9/10 based on 210 reviews, with 80% of 150,187 people liking it. 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."

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."

Music

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.

Box office

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).

Home Media

Brave was released on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, and digital download on November 13, 2012. It will be accompanied with 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.

Video game

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.

Accolades

List of awards and nominations
Award Category Winner/Nominee Result
85th Academy Awards Best Animated Feature Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman Won
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Best Animated Female Merida - Kelly Macdonald Won
American Cinema Editors Best Edited Animated Feature Film Nicolas C. Smith, A.C.E. Won
Annie Awards Best Animated Feature Nominated
Animated Effects Feature Production Bill Watral, Chris Chapman, Dave Hale, Keith Klohn, Michael K. O’Brien Nominated
Character Animation Feature Production Dan Nguyen Nominated
Jaime Landes Nominated
Travis Hathaway Nominated
Music in an Animated Feature Production Patrick Doyle, Mark Andrews, Alex Mandel Nominated
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 Nominated
Editorial in an Animated Feature Production Nicholas A. Smith, ACE, Robert Graham Jones, ACE, David Suther Won
BAFTA Awards Best Animated Film Won
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 Nominated
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 Nominated
Best Original Song Learn Me Right
Touch the Sky
Online Film Critics Society Best Animated Feature
Phoenix Film Critics Society Best Animated Film
Producers Guild of America Animated Theatrical Motion Picture Katherine Sarafian Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Best Animated Film Nominated
Satellite Awards Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media
Original Song Learn Me RightBirdy and Mumford & Sons
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 Won
Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Tim Best, Steve Pilcher, Inigo Quilez, Andy Whittock Won
Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Chris Chapman, Dave Hale, Michael K. O'Brien, Bill Watral Won
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Best Animated Feature Nominated
Women Film Critics Circle Best Animated Females Won

Possible Sequel

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."

Trivia

  • This is the first Pixar movie to have a female protagonist, and it is Pixar's first fairy tale.
  • Brave is set in the kingdom of DunBroch, during the 10th century.
  • Brave 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 will 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 stylised 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 all-American voice actor in Brave; all other voice actors were British or Scottish.
  • Robbie Coltrane and Julie Walters (the respective voices for Lord Dingwall and the Witch) both appeared in the Harry Potter film series as Rubeus Hagrid and Molly Weasley, respectively, while Kelly Macdonald played The Gray Lady, and Emma Thompson portrayed Professor Trelawney.
  • Brave is the first 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 tapestry of Merida, Elinor, and Fergus is seen in car version in Cars 2.

Goofs

  • One scene shows Queen Elinor dressing Merida up in a corset, but corsets weren't used until the 17th century.
  • The DunBroch Family can be seen eating with forks, but forks weren't invented until the 18th century.
  • King Fergus can be seen with a Harris' Hawk, but that bird is native only to North America.
  • When Merida is climbing the Crone's Tooth, the cry of a Red-Tailed Hawk can be heard in the distance. Red-Tailed Hawks, like the Harris' Hawk, are found only in North America.
  • The arm wound Merida received after accidentally being attacked by Bear Elinor near the end of the film heals in the next scene.
  • All of the bears in the film are depicted with black fur, but bears native to Europe are brown.

Gallery

Sites

Disney favicon Brave on Disney.com


Brave
Brave poster
Media: Brave | The Legend of Mor'du | Soundtrack | Brave (video game) | Brave (Little Golden Book) | Brave: Ultimate Sticker Book | Brave: The Essential Guide | Temple Run: Brave | Songs & Story: Brave | The Art of Brave

Characters: Princess Merida | King Fergus | Queen Elinor | Harris, Hubert and Hamish | Angus | Lord MacGuffin | Lord Macintosh | Lord Dingwall | Mor'du | Maudie | Young MacGuffin | Young Macintosh | Wee Dingwall | The Witch | The Crow | Will O' the Wisps | Martin | Gordon | Huge Warrior | The Ancient King | The Three Brothers | Clan DunBroch

Locations: Scotland | DunBroch | DunBroch Castle

Songs: Touch the Sky | Into the Open Air | Learn Me Right | Song of Mor'du | Noble Maiden Fair (A Mhaighdean Bhan Uasal)

Objects: Merida's Bow


Hidden Worlds
Hidden Worlds Title

Media: Hidden Worlds

Characters: Chrona | Sez | Olive | Ember | Rusty | Nib | Blott | The Inklings

Locations: Inkspire | Olive's Island | Chrona's House

Worlds: Beauty and the Beast | Tangled | Aladdin | The Little Mermaid | Brave | Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs | Peter Pan | Frozen




Start a Discussion Discussions about Brave

  • Good news for all Brave fans.

    43 messages
    • Ok. But about Merida's love interest, I think that's Pixar to decide to put him in the sequel or not. But I so badly want Pixar to put w...
    • As Frozen earns a sequel, I think it's fine with Brave :)!
  • The Bear and The Bow

    5 messages
    • Even though I never saw the film I would have liked this title better.
    • Yeah. It would also be better if the main character was a bear. But now that is Merida, the bear would just have to be the third main charac...

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