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File:Brave-Apple-Poster 1143.jpg
"Change your fate."

Brave is Pixar's 13th film, featuring their first journey into the Fantasy genre (of the Fairy Tale kind), and their first female lead protagonist. It tells the tale of a Rebellious Princess named Mérida in the mythical Scottish Highlands who defies a sacred custom, bringing turmoil to the kingdom. She takes action herself, sports a bow and arrow, and goes on an adventure with the king's three lords to right her wrongs.

Used to be called The Bear and the Bow while in development, and also used to be helmed by Pixar's first female director, Brenda Chapman (The Prince of Egypt), but she was replaced by story artist Mark Andrews and Steve Purcell. She will still have co-directing credit.

The film came out June 22, 2012. The teaser trailer can be viewed here. The full trailer can be seen here, as well as one of the film's publicly released scenes here.


Brave provides examples of:

  • Ancient Artifact: Each of the three lords is in possession of an ancient relic; a lyre, a cauldron, and a rock. All are said to be magical ... except for the rock. Maybe.
  • Animorphism: The trailer implies that Mérida's family will be turned into black bears at some point.
  • Arranged Marriage: The sons of the three lords compete in the Highland Games for Mérida's hand in marriage. She doesn't hate the boys but prefers her freedom and doesn't want to get married at all, so she sabotages their chances by entering and winning the archery contest. Apparently, Mérida was supposed to willingly choose the Gentle Giant Young MacGuffin as her boyfriend, but that was scrapped.
  • Badly-Battered Babysitter / Chew Toy: The triplets' nann. The poor woman crashes headlong into a wall, is the victim of the Carrying a Cake trope, and suffers a Funbag Airbag with a bear cub.
  • Ballroom Blitz: It's the throne room, actually, but still formal enough to qualify. The three lords and their clans gather at the castle for the Highland Games, in which their sons will compete for the right to Mérida's hand in marriage. At some point a massive fight breaks out (including biting and at least one purple nurple). Fergus makes a feeble attempt to restore order before literally diving into the fray, thus leaving Elinor to restore order.
  • Bonnie Scotland
  • Brave Scot: Implied in the title.
  • Break the Haughty: Merida starts a an arrogant Fiery Redhead who wants to do things her way without caring for the consequences. The plot is all about her committing a terrible mistake, having her loved ones suffer for it and her needing to make up for it, learning to be more humble and thoughtful in the process
  • Bright Castle: Castle DunBroch, though it looks more like a fortress than the traditional fairy tale variety.
  • Carrying a Cake: If there are sweets in the area, the triplets will steal them.
  • Continuity Cameo: The royal family appears in car form on a tapestry inside a pub in Cars 2.
    • Here is the pic as it appeared in Cars 2, and here is how it will look in Brave.
  • Continuity Nod: The Pizza Planet truck is expected to make an appearance inside the Witch's hut.
  • Cool Boat: The three lords each have one of these and use them to cross the loch to reach Castle DunBroch.
  • Curse: A "beastly curse" is unleashed on the land as a result of Mérida's wish, specifically Queen Elinor being transformed into a bear.
  • Darker and Edgier: Lee Unkrich has described the film as a "very gritty adventure", darker and more mature in tone than the typical Disney Princess movie. The trailer also breaks Pixar's tradition with funny gag-based teaser trailers and Audience Alienating Premises, setting the audience up for a story akin to that of a traditional High Fantasy. Still, they're mind-bogglingly still aimed at the youngest crowds, choosing to focus on the comic relief and completely hiding the true premise of the movie, possibly because of its darker and edgier roots.
  • Death Glare: Mérida and Elinor do this to each other right after the last arrow hits the bull's-eye.
  • Deconstructed Trope: The Rebellious Princess trope is smashed to pieces here, since Mérida's pride and desire to get things to go her way no matter what end up slapping her across the face since her careless wish to change her mother's mind ends up with her mom and siblings forcibly changed into bears and with a borderline clan war (her nagging mom was the one keeping the peace.
  • Disney Princess: Merida was officially added to the roster in May 2013, though not without some controversy.
  • Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: Yup, it sure is.
  • Everything's Worse with Bears: The demon bear Mor'du, who is described by Pixar as "Moby Dick on land."
  • The Fair Folk: The Wisps are most likely this trope. They're also said to have the power to change fate.
  • Feuding Families: The three lords don't get along with each other and are the leaders of their respective clans. It's up to the royal family to keep the feuding from escalating into war.
  • Fiery Redhead: Mérida, her father, and her three little brothers are all redheaded and spirited.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you look at the title closely, you can see Mérida hidden in the letter B, and Elinor in the letter E.
  • Funbag Airbag: One of the bear cubs falls into a woman's chest.
  • Head Desk: One of the triplets drops his head on the dinner table while listening to Fergus retell his encounter with Mor'du. It would seem that the king is more impressed with the story than his sons are.
  • Hollywood Cuisine: "Boys! Don't just play with your haggis!"
  • Hunk: The only guy Mérida seems impressed with at all is a guy who looks like this. Too bad he's not really Lord Dingwall's son.
  • Hurricane of Puns: The clan names Macintosh and MacGuffin.
  • Ironic Echo: "I'm right here. I'll always be right here."
  • The Kingdom: DunBroch.
  • Landmark of Lore: The circle of standing stones is loosely based on the Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis.
  • Licensed Game: Read all about it here.
  • The Lost Woods
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Mérida is joined by a bear in her quest -- it's loyal because she's her now-cursed mom.
  • Man Bites Man: Wee Dingwall, of all people, does this to Lord Macintosh during the Ballroom Blitz scene.
  • Man in a Kilt: Justified as the setting is the Scottish Highlands where the kilt originated from.
  • Meaningful Background Event: The bear in the poster. See Everything's Worse with Bears.
  • Medieval Morons: Look no further than the scene at the royal court where almost everyone is brawling like children.
  • The Middle Ages:

 Mark Andrews: It's actually a non-period in Scotland ... Between the 8th and the 12th centuries.

  • Misplaced Wildlife: In the trailer you can hear a red-tail hawk, found in California but not in Scotland.
  • The Mockbuster: Kiara the Brave.
  • Most Writers Are Male: John Lasseter on why Pixar hasn't had a female Main Character before: "We're a bunch of guys."
  • Never Trust a Trailer: So far none of the promos have shown what the actual consequences of Mérida's wish for freedom really are. Some of the The Merch, on the other hand, includes toys of Elinor and the Triplets that transform into bears.
  • No Flow in CGI: Averted. The hair of various characters are animated realistically and have their own movements.
  • Not This One, That One: Mérida and her parents assume the big strong guy Lord Dingwall is pointing at is his son (and one of her possible suitors), when he's really pointing at the scrawny kid standing behind him.
  • Orange-Blue Contrast: The movie poster, pictured above.
  • Parody Commercial: "Kilt. Are you man enough to wear one?"
    • "Royalty Records presents 19 of the greatest bagpipe hits ever collected on one LP! Freedom Broch!"
  • Race Against the Clock: Mérida has a limited amount of time to break the curse before it's too late (most likely it's a Celestial Deadline).
  • Ravens and Crows: The Witch seems to have one as a familiar.
  • Recurring Extra: The Hunk from clan Dingwall.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Mérida's family seems pretty active for royalty.
  • Rule of Three: The Three Lords, the three failing suitors, and Mérida's identical triplet brothers that only she's able to tell apart.
  • Scenery Porn: Pixar is animating the beautiful Scottish Highlands. Just look at the concept art.
  • Shown Their Work: According to this article, regarding archery.
  • Standard Hero Reward: A contest is set up for the hand of Mérida as part of tradition. Mérida does not approve. She gets out of it by competing in the contest for her own hand. She wins.
  • Stealth Pun: ACXIII. [1]
  • Tomboy Princess: Merida, in spades.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: As beautiful as the "Mother's Day" trailer is, the trailer may have given away a few of the ending shots of the film at the tail end of it.
    • Several movie tie-in books are getting released before the movie itself, too. Do not read them unless you want the movie completely spoiled.
  • Unwitting Aesop of Doom: The Aesop of this movie (that Merida needs to learn to solve her problems peacefully and with diplomacy) ends up causing major damage in Once Upon a Time, since the sons of the Lords launch an attack on the kingdom (at the same time that King Arthur and the Black Swan are wrecking havoc), and Merida has been so dulled by the Aesop of this movie that she constantly relies on the Bear Potion to deal with threats. Once someone switches the Bear Potion with water, Merida picks up her bow once again and never lets go of it, undoing the Aesop of this movie.  

Notes

  1. Hint, it's a Roman Numeral version of A113, a common Pixar Easter Egg.
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