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No Redheaded Stepchild: Brave Innovations Pay Off for Pixar

The studio took a gamble with a dark tale, a fiery princess, and an enchanting Scottish setting.

by
Chris Queen

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June 25, 2012 - 6:51 am
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Over 17 years and a dozen feature films Pixar revolutionized computer animation. Today no other studio even comes close.

Pixar’s films have innovated not just with their technological expertise but in the realms of characterization, plot development, and creativity. With Brave debuting last week, Disney and Pixar raised the bar even higher, reaching astonishing new heights.

Fiery-haired Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is the daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) of the DunBroch clan in 10th century Scotland. Merida loves riding through the countryside and practicing her archery. She longs to choose her own fate and bristles at her mother’s attempts to school her in the ways of living like a princess. When Elinor invites the heads of the other clans to DunBroch to compete for Merida’s hand in marriage, the princess rebels, leading to a heated argument.

Merida takes off into the woods, where she follows will-o’-the-wisps to a witch’s cabin. She asks for a spell that will both change her fate and her mother. The result: Elinor transforms into a bear. Merida must then reverse the curse by repairing her relationship with Elinor. Along the way mother and daughter restore the bonds between the four clans and help Fergus face the legendary demon bear Mor’du, who took his leg in a battle years before.

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