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Rebel - The Brave

Rebel - The brave
Princess Merida - Rebel - The brave
ï ¿½ Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures

Initially titled “The Bear and the Bow” (in Italian, L'Orso e l'Arco), “Brave” (aka Coraggiosa) is a 2012 animated film produced by Pixar Animation and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Made entirely with the graphic technique of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery), the film tells the fantastic adventures of a young princess who, as in all the best Disney fairy tales, wants to free herself from the social conventions imposed by her role as future queen and heir to the throne. of his father. After six years of production, the film was released in the United States on June 22, 2012, while it will be screened in Italian cinemas starting from September 5, 2012 with the title "Ribelle - The Brave" (with which the Walt Disney Company Italia replaced the previous "Brave - Courageous and rebellious").

Rebel - The brave
King Fergus and Queen Elinor - Rebel - The brave
Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures

The story is set in ancient and mysterious medieval Scotland. The mammoth King Fergus, ruler of the DunBroch clan, gives a magnificent bow to his young daughter Merida on her birthday. The little girl, excited by the gift, immediately begins to practice but shoots an arrow too far and therefore has to go and retrieve it from the trunk of the tree in which she has stabbed herself, in a wood near the camp where she is with her parents. . Here a long line of will-o'-the-wisps appears and begins to chase them but she is forced to go back called by her mother, Queen Elinor. The little girl just has time to return to her mother's arms when a giant furious bear attacks the camp. It is Mor'du, an old acquaintance of King Fergus who has been trying to find him for some time. Merida manages to get away from the place with her mother, while Fergus bravely lashes out at the bear and begins to fight with him. Years later we see Fergus practicing combat with some soldiers and we discover that unfortunately, during the fight with the terrible Mor'du, he lost his left leg, now replaced with a wooden limb. Meanwhile, Queen Elinor has given birth to three babies, three pestiferous identical twins named Harris, Hubert and Hamish. Merida, on the other hand, has become a beautiful girl but is endowed with a rebellious spirit that pushes her to bear the antiquated traditions and the constraints imposed by court life.

Rebel - The brave
Lord MacGuffin, Lord MacIntosh and Lord Dingwall - Rebel - The brave
Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures

One day the Queen tells her that according to the laws of their clan she will have to marry one of the princes of the clans allied with her father and, to convince her to accept the situation, she tells her the legend of a Prince who in the past had ruined her. Kingdom itself, so he asks her not to refuse marriage as this could damage her father's power. The warning worries Merida but does not help her to resign herself to this decision made by her parents without consulting her. However, the Lords of each clan (Lord MacGuffin, Lord MacIntosh and Lord Dingwall) have now arrived in the Kingdom of Fergus to present their respective firstborn to Merida and are so fierce that a fight immediately breaks out, in which the King himself also takes part. The fight only stops when Queen Elinor takes matters into her own hands (and the ears of the contenders), finally bringing order back, then the woman declaims the rules of the so-called Highland Games: the princes of each clan, as long as they are firstborn, will have to challenge each other. in a series of games and only the winner will win the hand of Merida then, by marrying her, he can become king. Surprisingly, however, after a bad performance of the princes in an archery challenge, Merida, as the eldest daughter of the DunBroch clan, claims her right to take part in the games to win her hand and her freedom, and with the bow given to her by her father hits all three targets.

Rebel - The brave
Merida on the run with her horse - Rebel - The brave
Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures

Queen Elinor, enraged by her daughter's stunt that has embarrassed the whole Kingdom, has a heated argument with her and they both talk about it all: first Merida accuses Elinor of never having listened to her wishes and of wanting to force her to be like her against her nature, then with a sword she cuts a tapestry that portrayed her with her parents while the Queen throws her daughter's bow into the fire. The girl then runs away from the room and does not have time to see that her mother, repentant for the bad gesture, takes out the arch from the fireplace saving him from the flames. Meanwhile, Merida runs away on her horse in the woods but is unsaddled by the steed who refuses to enter a circle made up of ancient ruins. Here once again Merida sees the trail of will-o'-the-wisps and decides to follow it until she reaches a small wooden house full of objects, also made of wood, carved by an old lady who actually turns out to be a witch. Giving her medallion as payment, Merida asks the witch to devise a spell to help her change her mother, hoping that in this way her destiny will also change, and the witch agrees to do so. Before preparing the spell, however, he shows her a ring with a symbol imprinted on it and tells her that he received it from a person who, like Merida, had requested a spell to change her destiny. The potion prepared by the old woman takes the form of a cake that Merida will have to feed her mother. As soon as the girl leaves the house with the cake in her hands, the wooden house disappears together with its tenant. Merida returns to the castle and offers the cake to her mother as a token of reconciliation but Elinor, shortly after eating it, feels sick and then turns into a giant brown bear, keeping her human conscience but losing the chance to speak.

Rebel - The brave
The three little brothers of Merida - Ribelle - The brave
Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures

Fergus senses that there is something strange in the castle and sets off to hunt the bear together with the members of the clans, but Merida, thanks also to the help of her three brothers who distract the soldiers, manages to bring Elinor out of the building healthy and save. However, he does not realize that he has left the greedy brothers dangerously close to the enchanted cake. Meanwhile, the girl goes with her mother to the ruins hoping that the will-o'-the-wisps will lead her once again to the witch but there is no trace of the house around. Elinor goes into the nearby woods and Merida follows her until they find themselves on the road the girl walked a few hours earlier. Finally they find the house but they discover that it is completely empty except for a large cauldron from which colored fumes are released that take on the appearance of the witch and begin to speak: the old woman, who has gone away for a while, has forgotten to reveal in Merida an important side effect of the spell and that is that if she does not break it before dawn on the second day, it will become permanent and the mother will never be able to return to human life. Also, as a suggestion to break the curse, the witch suggests to Merida to look inside and try to "repair the bond torn by pride." By now, however, night has fallen and the two are forced to sleep in the open under a pouring rain, sheltered only by a few wooden planks.

Rebel - The brave
Princess Merida - Rebel - The brave
Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures

The next morning, mother and daughter spend time fishing together and slowly begin to mend their relationship, but Merida realizes that the spell is becoming inexorably permanent as more and more Elinor loses control of herself and acts just like a real bear. A new appearance of will-o'-the-wisps leads the two to the ruins of what appears to be an ancient castle on whose rocks the same symbol of the ring shown to Merida by the witch is stamped. From a carved but broken bas-relief, Merida senses that this is the realm of the legend told by her mother and, when she touches the bas-relief, she sees the image of the cut made by her on the family tapestry so she understands that perhaps it is the tear that must be 'be repaired. Soon after comes the ferocious Mor'du, who is probably the prince of legend who has undergone the same spell as Elinor. The bear attacks her and Merida manages to save herself only thanks to the intervention of her mother. After a frenzied escape, the time has come to sneak back to the castle to take the tapestry and repair the tear. In the meantime, however, the members of the various clans gathered at the palace are tired of waiting and King Fergus is no longer able to keep them at bay. Merida, who infiltrated the castle, intervenes in the dispute and, interpreting the gestures of her mother who hid in a corner pretending to be a stuffed bear, explains to everyone that everyone should be free to follow their heart to find love and marry whomever sees fit. Fortunately, all the firstborn of the clans agree with her and the situation is resolved in the best way. Having obtained the reconciliation between the members of the various clans, Merida invites everyone to come out of the castle to celebrate, so that she will have free ground to reach the tapestry undisturbed with her mother and repair it before it is too late since the night. Unfortunately, once they arrive in the tapestry room, Elinor again loses control of herself, while Fergus, having entered the room in search of his wife, finds her dress torn on the ground and, seeing the bear with Merida, believes that it is Mor'du and that he killed the Queen.

The two have a violent confrontation during which Fergus passes out but suddenly Elinor regains consciousness of herself and runs away after realizing that she has injured her daughter. King Fergus awakens and Merida tries to explain to him that the bear is not Mor'du but his mother Elinor, however the father does not listen to her and locks her in his room to keep her safe from the ferocious animal, then leaves to hunt to the bear and avenge the death of his wife. Once again thanks to the help of the brothers, who have turned into bear cubs after eating the cake, Merida retrieves the key to her room from the clutches of the hysterical nurse and sets off in pursuit of her father on horseback, while simultaneously continuing to mend the tapestry. Meanwhile, Elinor, fleeing in the woods, reaches the ancient ruins where, now trapped and completely surrounded by her pursuers, she is captured by Fergus who is about to kill her when Merida intervenes and fights with her father to prevent him from killing her mother. He does not have time, however, to explain the whole situation well to him because Mor'du makes his appearance again and attacks them, raging on Merida. When Elinor sees that Mor'du is about to kill her daughter, she forcibly breaks free from the ropes she is tied with and bravely fights with the bear until she manages to lure him near a menhir that is about to collapse. Under the weight of the big boulder, Mor'du is crushed and killed. Finally the spirit of the prince, free from the curse, can pass to a better life, not without first having addressed a nod of thanks to Merida and her mother. In the meantime, however, dawn is almost upon us, so Merida runs to get the tapestry, which she has finished mending on horseback, and places it on Elinor's back. Not obtaining the desired result immediately and seeing all traces of humanity disappear from her mother's eyes, the girl believes she has failed and in the throes of a desperate cry she apologizes to Elinor, assuming for the first time the responsibility for the recklessness of her gesture. Elinor forgives her, so mother and daughter are reconciled and, when the sun comes to illuminate the tapestry with the "wound" now repaired, Elinor resumes her human features as well as the triplets. The happily reunited family can return to the castle, while the clans return to their respective lands. Mom and daughter, now strong in their new and consolidated relationship, can now face the future together.

In a scene following the credits, the witch's crow appears asking a guard of the castle to sign for a delivery: it is a series of wooden statues that Merida would have bought together with the spell.

The meaning
The entire film focuses on the female figure, as usually happens in all Disney fairy tales, but this time Pixar takes a step towards modernity: there is no classic princess waiting adoring a prince who, for the simple fact of having saved her from some horrible monster or having taken her in marriage becomes the proponent of her destiny. In Brave there are only two women, a mother and a daughter, victims and executioners of a conflictual relationship that also becomes a generational conflict: on the one hand, Elinor, totally taken by her role as queen and tied to the social conventions of the court, by another is the rebellious princess Merida, young in her own way modern yet tied to an idea of ​​love that is chosen and not imposed. Here the woman is the primary architect of her own destiny because she has finally acquired the awareness of being able to decide for herself how to self-fulfill. The few male figures in the film (King Fergus, the leaders of the clans, the triplets) are relegated to a comic interlude between a meeting / clash and the other of the two protagonists. To this is added the path of growth and maturation of a girl who is still a child who, for an act of selfishness, puts her mother's life at risk but then turns into a girl who is almost a woman, capable of recognizing her mistakes and, if possible, to remedy it independently. He also understands that the idea of ​​being able to live a free existence serenely by admitting the presence, albeit cumbersome, of parents in one's life is not utopia. In this way the didactic intent of a pedagogical-moral type that is always hidden behind every self-respecting fantasy story is also satisfied.

Brave is the first fairy tale created by Pixar, directed among other things by the first female director of the studios, Brenda Chapman, who conceived the project inspired by the fairy tales of Hans and Christian Andersen.
For her work, Chapman chose a woman as the protagonist of the adventure, which is also completely new in Pixar films.
Despite the innovative nature of the project she proposed, Brenda Chapman abandoned the process along the way and the management passed to Mark Andrews for the remaining 18 months of production.
It is the first feature film to have used the Dolby Atmos audio format in the United States and Canada, but given the technological equipment of other countries, it will be screened elsewhere in Dolby Surround 7,1.
To give the soundtrack a more 'Scottish' feel, given the setting of the story, composer and author Patrick Doyle used Scottish instruments such as bagpipes, Celtic harps and bodhran.
In the DVD and Blu-Ray version that will be released on November 13, 2012, there will be some extra contents such as the animated short film "La luna", directed by the Genoese Enrico Casarosa, and the mini-film "The legend of Mor'du" in to which the witch of Brave tells the legend that lies behind the story of the cursed prince and the ravenous bear.
The release of the film was preceded a few days by the release of a video game produced by Disney Interactive Studios. The game is available for all major consoles (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS), but also for PC and, in the mobile version, for iOS and Android.
A book has also been published, entitled The Art of Brave (published by Chronicle Books), in which the entire preparatory phase before the making of the actual film is told, through a series of stories by Chapman and the designers, photographs, images, drawings, storyboards, reconstructions of settings, color and lighting studies.

Ribelle poster - The Brave
Original title: 
3d animation
100 '
Directed by: 
Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
Official site: 
Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Studios, Motion Pictures Italy
Exit date: 
September 05, 2012


All names, images and trademarks are copyright Walt Disney Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures and those entitled and are used here only for cognitive and informative purposes.

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