The story of Merida, the princess of DunBroch, starts simple enough with the recounting of her childhood playing hide-and-seek with her mother and getting a bow and arrow for her birthday. After shooting an arrow into the woods she sets off to find it and gets lost.
She follows some will-oâ€™-the-wisps, small blue spirits, back to her parents but trouble follows her in the form of the demon bear Morâ€™du.
Protecting his family, Meridaâ€™s father King Fergus, loses his leg. Morâ€™du, defeated but not killed, retreats.
The real story begins as a montage unfolds of Merida growing up and learning to be a princess.
Her mother, Queen Elinor, wants to raise a proper princess, but Merida wants nothing more than to live her life how she wants by riding her horse out into the country to practice her archery whenever she can.
The day the queen has been waiting for finally arrives. The three clans of the land have consented to a tournament for the right to marry Princess Merida. Merida, as the princess, has the right to choose the challenge for her hand in which all the first-born will compete.
In a betrayal of all tradition Merida, as the first born of her house, rebels and proclaims she will vie for her own hand and outshoots all the others.
Doing this she unintentionally starts a feud between the clans and has a falling out with her mother. Still in a position to be married off, Merida chooses to run away and soon finds a witch in the woods. The witch provides Merida with a spell to change her mother.
The spell changes her mother in unexpected ways, and Merida is now forced to find a cure in two days, fight off the demon bear Morâ€™du and stop a war that is beginning to break out between the clans.
This highly entertaining Pixar film has laughs for all, but may be inappropriate for smaller children. The demon bear Morâ€™du adds a frightening and dark element to the film that has never been seen in a Pixar film.
My 4-year-old sat huddled on my lap during many of the bear scenes. Although I didnâ€™t see it, the 3-D version is much scarier as the bear jumps from the screen at viewers.
Some parents may object to a scene that comes after a prank played by Meridaâ€™s three younger brothers. The men of the four clans end up locked on the roof of the castle. Undoing their plaid scarf that identifies their clan, they climb off the roof.
What happens next is best expressed in the words of my 4-year-old, â€œLook daddy, I can see his bum.â€
Itâ€™s a four-second scene, but that didnâ€™t stop some parents from walking out.
Brave is everything people have come to like about Pixar â€” amazing animation and an interesting story. But parents should be prepared for some scary scenes and what may be inappropriate to some.
Brave is rated PG.