A Spoiler Free Review of Disney/Pixar Brave – One Step Beyond
June 15, 2012 Entertainment

George Gensler attended an advanced screening of Disney/Pixar Brave, and submitted this spoiler free review.  Continue reading for her thoughts on Pixar’s 13th animated feature film that opens nationwide on Friday, June 22nd.  For even more news, clips, press releases and features on “Brave,” click here.

Article by George Gensler

The Previews

Let’s face it – a movie’s not a movie without the previews.  Who doesn’t plan out their future viewings based on the snippets of the best bits of the movie previews?   We were treated to a couple of commercials first – one for Adventure by Disney’s new Scotland tour, which incorporates Brave in the arc of the trip (including archery lessons for the Highland warrior inside us all) and the other for the new Brave video game.  There were two television promos, as well.  ABC Family will be airing Baby Daddy (not hard to guess the plot of this one) and Disney Channel’s new tv-movie “Let It Shine” (seemingly a new retelling of Cyrano).

Photo by Diana Zalucky © Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


And, then, the best bit of the previews – the Disney movies!  Finding Nemo will be released in 3D on September 14, 2012; Monsters University, the prequel to Monsters, Inc., will be released in the summer of 2013; and, the new original film, Wreck-it Ralph, will be released November 2, 2012.

The Pixar Short

And, of course, a Disney/Pixar film just isn’t complete without a Pixar short.  La Luna is a charming fantasy telling the tale of a boy joining his father and grandfather in the family work, but learning to find his own way in it.  I think this film easily could have been made into a feature length film, with a special appeal for young boys.

"LA LUNA" (L-R) Nonno, Papa and Bambino. ©2012 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.


Full disclosure:  I hate spoilers in reviews, so there won’t be any in this one.

I went into this film with the same trepidation that I had before watching Tangled.  I was intrigued and hopeful.  I knew nothing about the story, except that there was something about a bear attacking the father of Merida, the newest Disney princess, Merida’s triplet brothers, and a battle royal between Merida and her mother.  As with Tangled, I was charmed and delighted by Merida and her story.

(L-R) MERIDA and QUEEN ELINOR. © 2012 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.


Brave turns the classic fairy-tale princess story on its head.  Our heroine’s adversary is her own mother, not the evil stepmother, fairy, or witch (in this story, the witch is Merida’s ally, sort of).  Merida, the newest Disney princess, identifies closely with her family, but rejoices in her independence.  “Rejoices” may sound extravagant, but you’ll understand what I mean when you see the movie.  Overtly, this is a film about fate and destiny and making your own way, but the themes of family, bravery and tradition are also represented, winding their way through the story.  The push and pull between the family members is echoed in the push and pull between the clans at the Gathering.  Merida wants to change her fate, but changes herself (and her mother, Elinor) instead.  They learn, together, to take care of each other – Merida helps her mother when she’s outside her comfort zone and Elinor earns Merida’s respect (not an easy thing for the mother of a teenager) by learning to rely on her daughter.  As Merida and Elinor learn, “fate lives within us, you only have to be brave enough to see it.”

"BRAVE" (Pictured) Castle DunBroch. © 2012 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.


Technically, this is a beautiful movie.  Of course, that’s not very difficult for a film set in Scotland, but Pixar has done a wonderful job with the rendition of the various textures of the landscapes.  The 3D effects were striking, especially Merida’s hair (and freckles to a lesser extent), the flight of the arrow (should that be THE arrow?) and the will-o-the-wisps.  A perfect example of Pixar’s attention-to-detail is the appearance of sparks when metal strikes metal.  There were some modern phenomena tucked seamlessly into the story, such as the Rube Goldberg machine, the chase scenes, and the voice-mail cauldron.  We also learn what a Scotsman wears under his kilt, but, as promised, there won’t be any spoilers in this review.

(L-R) LORD MacGUFFIN, LORD DINGWALL and LORD MACINTOSH. © 2012 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.


The twists and turn in the movie are like following a Celtic Knot.  In the grand tradition of Disney films, I laughed (a lot) and I cried (twice).  Two of my favorite quotes are:  “Legends are lessons.  They ring with truth.” and “alliance forged in bravery and friendship.”  The triplets are hilarious, as are the clan leaders (and the first-born sons, to a lesser extent).  I would have loved to have seen more of the triplets, but we can always hope for a sequel, right?  Unlike other Disney princess movies, the focus of Brave is on independence and family balance, rather than romance.  It’s a wonderful mommy/daughter film and the triplets and the clan interactions provide plenty of comic relief and action (so much so that the entire audience erupted in laughter many times) –  the entire family will be sure to enjoy this wild romp in the Scottish Highlands.

Be sure to stay through the end of the credits, though, for a short, but cute, end-note.

(L-R) ANGUS and MERIDA. © 2012 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.


Bio: George Gensler is a copyrights specialist during the week and a runner on the weekends.  She lives in New York City now, but has lived in five countries on three continents.  She grew up traveling the world, but her official residence was in Southern California and every visit home included a trip to Disneyland.  Her first visit to Disney World was in early 1972 (first year).  She’s a huge runDisney fan and has legacy status at the Disneyland Half Marathon, the Tower of Terror 13K, and the Expedition Everest Challenge.  In 2010, she ran every runDisney race (including the 5k fun runs) earning 13 medals in 11 races.  She has also visited every Disney Park around the world and sailed on board two Disney cruises.  She threw in a visit to the Disney Family museum in San Francisco for good measure, and has had the Premier Disney Park Pass since its inception.

Thanks to George Gensler for attending the screening and submitting this movie review.  For more adventure movie news, family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

"6" Comments
  1. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for John Ratzenberger! He’s appeared in every Pixar film and is usually distinguishable by his distinctive voice, but he’s got a Scottish accent this time. Enjoy!

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