Brave Footage From D23 Reminds Us Of Robin Hood, Plot Details Revealed

If you’ve seen the first trailer for Pixar’s Brave, you already know how absolutely incredible the film looks. A period piece set in medieval Scotland, the animation looks unlike anything we’ve ever seen from the elite studio before and today at the D23 Expo they showed plenty of new footage.

While all of it wasn’t completed, particularly the second half, the footage was quite impressive. Both epic and humorous – and with an interesting Robin Hood feel - Brave the crowd of Disney fans ate up every minute. Check out our description of the footage below and stay tuned after for some new details about the film’s plot

The first clip begins with Merida (voice of Kelly MacDonald) riding on her horse through the woods practicing archery. Without her steed ever slowing down, she pulls back her bow string and fires off a series of arrows, hitting targets she’s hung from the trees square in the middle. As she’s about to shoot at the final target, her horse stops dead and she is vaulted forward on to the ground. Upset with the horse, she picks up some mud and hurls it, to which the horse responds by blowing snot in her face. She walks towards the horse and kisses it on the nose. Suddenly things get dark and in the distance, among some giant rocks, the silhouette of a giant bear can be seen.

In the second piece of footage shown, the sons of three lords – Lord MacIntosh (Craig Ferguson), Lord Dingwell (Robbie Coltrane) and Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd) – are vying for Merida’s hand in marriage – despite the fact that she doesn’t want to marry any of them. King Fergus (Billy Connolly) sets it up so the winner of a competition gets to marry Merida, and the princess chooses archery as the game. The first archer, the young MacGuffin (also voiced by McKidd), fires his arrow and misses the target, which Merida mocks him for. Next, Lord MacIntosh’s son is up and makes a pretty good shot, but it doesn’t hit the bulls-eye. Disappointed with his failure, he begins to have an epic tantrum. Last is Lord Dingwell’s son who seems slightly mentally challenged. At first unable to even get an arrow out of his quiver, he first has trouble getting it onto the string and then can’t get the tip to line up with the bow. After all of this trouble he finally fires and hits the target directly in the middle. Lord Dingwell begins to loudly celebrate and actually moons the other fathers.

Like a flash, Merida then appears on the archery field, taking off her hood and letting her red hair fly. She announces that she will be competing for her own hand. Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) stands up and tells Merida to stop but she doesn’t listen. Running from target to target she fires two straight bulls-eyes. Finally she reaches the third. The Queen still shouting, everything moves into slow-motion as Merida lets the last arrow fly. The arrow wavers due to the force of the string propelling it forward and Merida’s arrow flies into the target, splitting Dingwell’s arrow in two.

During the presentation director Mark Andrews and producer Katherine Sarafian revealed new details about the movie’s plot. In a behind the scenes featurette shown in the middle of the presentation, it was said that the story involves soft blue lights called Will-o'-the-wisp that, according to legend, can change fate. Merida follows them to an old cottage in the woods where a witch (Julie Waters) lives. Seeing it as an opportunity to help her get rid of the suitors, Merida has the witch cast a spell. The problem is that the wisps can lead to treasure or to doom and thanks to the spell the kingdom rests on the brink of war and it’s up to Merida to fix it.

Brave hits theaters on June 22, 2012.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.