2012 | 93 minutes | Rated PG

Brave’s ads have shown little beyond the film’s first act—which is a pretty great surprise, since that’s right about the time Brave stops copying Disney’s Entitled Princess Formula™ and starts getting interesting. The rote setup has Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) riding her very own pony through vistas so picturesque one suspects the Scottish tourism board blackmailed Pixar; every once in a while, she’ll squabble with her parents, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) and King Fergus (Billy Connolly). But then Merida goes off the familiar path—venturing a little too far from her safe castle, a little too far into that shadowy forest—and Brave spins into stranger, better, funnier territory. Brave has neither the emotional impact of Toy Story 3 nor the sharp cleverness of Wall-E, but—like Merida—it does have an earnest, heartfelt core that grows stronger and more confident as it progresses. Paired with Pixar’s predictably graceful and evocative character animation, the film overcomes its bland opening to become an affecting, inventive, and sincere fable.

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Film Credits
Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, Sally Kinghorn, Eilidh Fraser