Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Recommended Watching This Week – Disney & Pixar’s Brave

Pixar’s latest computer animated film Brave has just recently been shown in theaters worldwide, and already it made $341,420,254 in the box office. You can tell a good story no matter what medium you will use people are going to listen to it. It can be told through a book, verbal oration, music, live action film or even in an animated film. The tale of Merida (the protagonist in this story) is much like the beloved fairytales of the old that anybody can relate to. This was indeed a first big impression for directors Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews and Steve Purcell considering that they have never taken such a demanding task before.

The Directors’ Resume
This is an interesting part of the movie because neither one of the directors had any experience sitting in the director’s chair before, yet they were able to make good with Brave. Brenda Chapman is known for The Lion King movie, but she only worked there as a story supervisor, overseeing the work of 20+ other storyboard artists. Meanwhile Steve Purcell has only worked on video games and Mark Andrews script-writing works included John Carter and Star Wars: Clone Wars (Animated). I’m pretty sure that after this film undertaking there will be a lot of work waiting for these three as they’ll be bringing the same quality that they did with Brave.

The Technology behind the Film
For the first time in 25 years Pixar rewrote its proprietary computer animation software to elevate the movie to a level where no other animated film has ever reached before. Pixar and Disney both were making history when they made this movie; the movie also was the first to utilize Dolby’s “Dolby Atmos” – a new surround sound technology developed by Dolby Digital Laboratories. The people reported seeing high quality graphics (particularly Merida’s red hair) and a crisp clear sound that can be distinctly identified against the older versions of Dolby sound systems.

The Plot
King Fergus (Billy Connolly) of The Clan DunBroch had a terrifying encounter with Mor’du the most feared black bear in the nearby forest. His wife Elinor (Emma Thompson) and Merida (Kelly Macdonald) his eldest daughter were nearly killed during the assault of the beast. However, King Fergus was able to save his family but Mor’du took a bite on his and amputated his left leg; and time passed by when Merida became a teenage princess in their small kingdom in Scotland. She was to be betrothed to a prince from a different clan that has sworn alliance to them long ago. Merida disagreed and wandered off the forest and there she met a Witch (Julie Walters) whom she had bargained for a spell to cast on someone she hated. The Witch agreed and baked her a cake and told her that whoever eats the cake will turn into a horrible beast and will be cursed forever.

In her anger Merida offered the cake to her mother as a sign of her peace offering, but secretly she wanted her to be accursed by it, because she didn’t want to get married, but later that night her three brothers also ate the cake and by dawn Elinor and her three sons now transformed into a family of black bears by the spell. Merida realized her mistake and tried to hide her mother and three brothers from her father, otherwise he’ll kill them for sure. She and her now accursed mother and brothers hurried back to the Witch’s cottage only to find that she had left and is nowhere to find. However, The Witch left her a clue in the form of a riddle and it said “mend the bond torn by pride.” She then remembered that earlier on she had torn the family tapestry and by instinct she believed that if she could restore it back to its former state, then the spell will be broken.

Driven by her beastly instincts as she sways from her old self to the black bear that she had become, Elinor attacked King Fergus, but left him alone before she could do any harm as she regained her consciousness again. She frantically raced towards the city gates as the King and his riders chased after her, thinking that she was Mor’du. It was then that Merida intervened but before the King and his men could clam down Mor’du appeared out of nowhere and attacked everyone that was there. But Elinor was able to slay him revealing the beast’s former self who was once a prince from long ago. Merida then wrapped the now sewn tapestry around Elinor and slowly she transformed back into her old self as well as the boys.

Brave is an enchanting fairytale about a young princess in 10-centrury Scotland, who saved her family despite great odds. If you didn’t catch it in cinemas, then I highly recommend that you wait for the DVD release or watch it stream online while waiting.        

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