I Rewatched Brave And I Truly Don't Understand Why More People Don't Like This Movie More

Merida in Brave.
(Image credit: Pixar)

I have been a fan of many Pixar movies for many years. While my brother was the sibling to grow up during the Disney Renaissance, I was the one who got the chance to see the best of the best Pixar films in theaters as a kid, from the lovable Monsters Inc. to Finding Nemo all the way to 2017 beauty that is Coco (which is getting a stage adaptation now). 

But one Pixar film I feel that never gets talked about enough is Brave. The movie, which released back in 2012, wasn’t one of Pixar’s best performers, or even its most well-received movie, but it still packed a punch and gave us another great Disney princess. It makes me wonder exactly what happened to make people not like this movie so much. And now, as an adult, I had the chance to watch the movie once more – and I still don’t get why people don’t like it. 

From the animation to the music to the story, here is why you should like the Pixar film, Brave, a heck of a lot more. 

Merida in Brave.

(Image credit: Pixar)

The Animation Is Stunning 

I mean, with anything in Pixar, you can always bet that the animation is going to be great. That’s what Pixar is known for and has been known for. They are revolutionaries in the business of animation and created some of the first 3D-animated full length films, and their animation has only gotten better and more life-like as time has gone on. 

But there’s so much more to Brave than meets the eye. Not only are you invited into the scenery of Scotland with its beautiful greens and browns and so much nature around you that you practically feel as if you are in a forest, but everything is so eye-catching. Every scene feels so well crafted and you can tell from a mile away that the animators really put in a ton of hard work to make sure this film was as accurate to Scotland as possible. 

I don’t know, there’s just something about the animation in this movie that stands out to me and I absolutely love it. So much. The contrast between Merida’s flaming red hair and the dark backgrounds around her, and how she always stands out in a crowd – one of my favorite parts of the animation.  

Merida in Brave.

(Image credit: Pixar)

And The Music Is Such A Sweet Score With Scottish Tones

Something that I think threw people off about Brave is that while Merida is a Disney princess, she doesn’t sing once throughout the movie, like many other Disney princesses do. That’s not to say that I don’t love those Disney princess songs, but it just fits Merida’s character for her not to sing, you know? 

However, that doesn’t mean that the score isn’t absolutely perfect for this movie. Every single composed piece that is in each scene fits the mood perfectly and captures how the audience is supposed to feel, mixed in with those Scottish undertones that truly soothe my soul (as someone who is part Scottish on her mother’s side). 

Also, that entire first scene of Merida on her horse, with “Touch The Sky” playing in the background, is hands down one of my favorite Disney songs ever. It’s so different and fun, and while it’s not a Disney princess song or classic Disney villain song, it’s still great.  

Merida in Brave.

(Image credit: Pixar)

Merida Is Such A Strong, Female Protagonist 

This is something I don’t get. Why is it that so many people don’t love Merida? Or at least appreciate her more? 

Maybe it’s because she’s not like most Disney princesses because she’s not super prim and proper and she has a spunky attitude that I just love, but Merida, in a way, is so much better than the others. Look, I love Disney princesses but Merida is just so independent that it made me want to go out on my own adventure after watching the movie. 

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She knows exactly what she wants. Yes, she may make mistakes, but what teenager doesn’t? That doesn’t mean she’s going to just sit around and let her fate get determined for her. She is going to go out there and make her own journey, and while she might get into trouble along the way, she has the guts to get through it – hence the term “brave,” used as the title. 

Merida almost reminds me of Tiana from The Princess and the Frog in a way – both have completely different backgrounds, but both are trying to work against what society has in store for them. Tiana wants to own her own business, and Merida wants to carve her own path. She’s a great female protagonist to follow. 

Queen Elinor in Brave.

(Image credit: Pixar)

Honestly, Emma Thompson As Queen Elinor Was Such Perfect Casting

Also, wow, Emma Thompson as Queen Elinor was just the perfect way to cast Merida’s mother. 

Emma Thompson is honestly always a win no matter what movie you put her in, whether that be 2022’s Matilda, Cruella, or even the Harry Potter franchise, she’s just great. But her voice-acting as Elinor, was excellent. 

She just has this sort of voice that’s calming but also firm, if that makes sense. You can tell she loves the heck out of her children but also has a duty to raise them to be proper little princes and princesses and when one of them goes against that, of course she’s going to be stressed. Thompson is able to accurately portray that frustration through Elinor, while still making her capable of love. 

Merida and Elinor in Brave.

(Image credit: Pixar)

And To Be Honest, The Story Of Her Growing Bond With Her Mother Is What Captured Me

This is always what gets me – when I ask people what went wrong with Brave, they usually say the story, and I’m always so shocked by that. The story is what made me want to watch it in the first place. 

At the end of the day, the story of Brave isn’t about a girl trying to change her fate and go on some crazy adventure in order to turn her mother back from a bear. It’s about a mother and daughter learning to grow and understand each other from their point of view. To be brave enough to face a different viewpoint than their own and to grow as people and as family members, rather than stay apart. And at the end of the movie, the two have a newfound love that’s stronger than they had ever experienced through their hard times. 

It’s literally because of this love that her mother is turned back into a human, and that’s what makes this so beautiful. 

They work together to build a new Scotland after, and their bond is no longer torn from when she was a child. Yes, the story lacked in some aspects, such as a memorable villain, but at the end of the day, not every Disney movie can have a super iconic villain or crazy twists. Sometimes, all you need is the story of a mother and daughter – and that’s what made this amazing for me. 

Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane) in Brave

(Image credit: Pixar)

Also, The Comedic Beats Hit Every Time

This is just a side-note, but this movie didn’t need to be so funny sometimes. It really did knock itself out of the park multiple times. 

From Merida’s brothers being three little bears and causing absolute mayhem to the comedic beats when Merida was facing her possible suitors and how literally terrible all three of them were, there were so many parts of this film I felt myself laughing out loud too. It wasn’t the main draw of the movie, but certainly gave some happy moments in parts that were a little darker than others. 

I don’t know, maybe I’m a little biased because I watched this movie with my own mother, but Brave is a great time with family. It not only teaches good family values, but has some beautiful animation and a great story, and I still think it deserves way more praise than it has gotten in the past. 

Stream Brave on Disney+. 

Alexandra Ramos
Content Producer

A self-proclaimed nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, Alexandra Ramos is a Content Producer at CinemaBlend. She first started off working in December 2020 as a Freelance Writer after graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Journalism and a minor in English. She primarily works in features for movies, TV, and sometimes video games. (Please don't debate her on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!) She is also the main person who runs both our daily newsletter, The CinemaBlend Daily, and our ReelBlend newsletter.