"If you had a chance to change your fate, would you?" is the main question at the center of the new Disney/Pixar film "Brave."
Now this is the same basic question found in almost everything Disney, however, thanks to the help of Pixar, this 2012 movie takes on a whole new emotional plot twist which is rarely seen in the magical world of Disney.
"Brave" follows the adventures of the Scottish princess, Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), as she fights her mother and tradition in order to, as her father puts it, "stay single and let her hair flow in the wind as she rides through the glen, firing arrows into the sunset."
Merida's story takes an ill turn after her sabotage of the archery contest for her hand in marriage, leading her to ask a witch (Julie Waters) for a spell to change her mother (Emma Thompson) and therefore Merida's fate. The spell works, but not as expected, leaving Merida to deal with a mysterious legend, her mother's curse and four rioting plaid-clad clans -- which always makes for a fun time, right?
I've read a few reviews saying this animated film is not up to Pixar's standards, but I disagree. Although "Brave" may not be considered better than "Toy Story," it is definitely one of Pixar's best due to its ability to amaze on every level.
On an emotional level this film was a roller coaster. I constantly found myself laughing, gasping, jumping, and yes, I will admit near the end, getting a little teary-eyed. However, this film is not a chick flick! If anything it is a family movie, for although Disney caters to girls in "Brave," the film also has the ability, due to its humor and dangerous situations, to keep male audiences equally entertained, which is definitely a trademark of Pixar.
Physically, this film is brilliantly animated. The rocky terrain of Scotland, the thick fog, and especially Merida's wild red locks are a treat to look at. In my own artistic opinion, even if the story line was the equivalent of the "Twilight Saga" I would still go see "Brave" just for the CGI animation.
Not only was the film aesthetically beautiful but it also breaks Disney stereotypes of prince-dependent princesses and torn-apart families; and if there is one thing Pixar knows how to do, it is to break Disney of its nasty habits and ideals. Merida is strong, independent, smart and determined, all of which make her a great role model for girls. Merida is not perfect -- like anybody, she does have her selfish, short-sighted moments -- but this makes her only more relatable to today's girls.
But what makes this archery-loving heroine truly different is her ability to realize her mistakes and fix them without the help of Prince Charming. Instead she depends on her family, which makes a wonderful change from the usual Disney story line where either one parent is dead or the protagonist runs away.
And the world is more than ready for a change from the average prancing Disney princesses, who are shrinking pansies only fit to brush their hair and wait for Prince Charming to come save them. Heck, if a prince tried to save Princess Merida, she'd shoot him. Besides, her adventures would probably make typical Disney princes wet their extremely tight tights.
So if you want to see a Disney film where the princess doesn't need a stunt double to walk down the steps, then "Brave" is the way to go. And a word of advice -- stay until the end of the credits.
Madison Ostberg is a junior at Bonneville High School. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.