By Stephanie Ciccarelli
June 26, 2012
When Merida was first conceived of, her looks were drawn to reflect her spirit. The challenge for the crew was, "Can you animate this?"
You could say animating the hair in this film was both a nightmare and an animator's dream.
From wild characters to even wilder hair, Brave and its authentic Scottish voice cast will have you on the edge of your seat.
Have you seen Pixar's Brave?
Share your thoughts by leaving a comment after reading today's VOX Daily.
On behalf of all the curly-haired girls out there, thank you.
Thank you for saying to little girls now, embrace that mess of curls!!!!
When I was younger all I wanted was straight hair like all the cool girls. I remember my mom trying to painfully brush out the knots. No one knew what to do with it. I guess we didn't have great conditioning products then. There are so many competitive reality shows where the girls have naturally curly hair, and within a few weeks the stylists are straightening it. Don't do it. Embrace it!
- Voice artist Rebecca Davis
Fierceness, femininity, and family dominate Pixar's newest animated film, Brave. Set in the Scottish Highlands, Brave tells the story of a young princess, Merida, who is destined to marry a fractious suitor among one of the three most powerful families in the kingdom. Not wanting to submit to authority, Merida decides to do things her own way and tries to escape the destiny set out for her by defying the wishes of her parents, the expectations of her people and the tradition of her country.
After encountering a witch, she is persuaded to take matters into her own hands and poor Merida's choices yield consequences that she does not expect. As a result, she faces challenges that show her what true bravery means as she strives to make things right.
1. Brave marks the first time Pixar has featured a female as a lead character.
2. Brave is the first Pixar foray into the realm of fairy tales.
3. Brave has a lot of buoyant, cascading, animated hair. (Did I say that already?)
All hair aside, there is also a fantastic voice cast from Scotland breathing life into Brave's characters.
Kelly Macdonald as Princess Merida
Emma Thompson as Queen Elinor
Billy Connolly as King Fergus
Kevin McKidd as Lord MacGuffin/Young MacGuffin
Robbie Coltrane as Lord Dingwall
Craig Ferguson as Lord Macintosh
Julie Walters as The Witch
Producer: Katherine Sarafian
Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell
I'm a fan of some of Kelly Macdonald's work and it was a treat to see that she has entered the world of voice acting. As an on-camera actress, Kelly Macdonald shared that the role of Merida involved a lot of work. In an interview, Macdonald indicated that she was exhausted by the intensity required of her when voice acting. Three hours was her maximum for voicing but quite often the sessions went on for four hours.
Although the work was very intense, Macdonald related that it was so much fun! The recording sessions were in her words, "Loosey-goosey," and had an organic feel not unlike molding clay. Director Mark Andrews was always there in the room with her and she would read her lines as Merida with him. Although she was green in terms of voice acting, Macdonald got used to it quite quickly and acknowledged that voice acting alone in a recording booth is indeed a different way of working from the on-camera work she is accustomed to.
After reading a few movie reviews of Brave, I found the consensus to be that while older children may not be spooked, young children who are prone to nightmares or are more sensitive to scary things may be best kept at home.
A number of people in the voice-over community have also seen the film and have wonderful things to say about its production values and voice cast.
"The visuals are excellent, the voicing is marvellous, the story is not up to Pixar's standard, but still worth seeing in 3D on the big screen." - Ken DeVries
"I saw it in 2D. I'd pretty much agree with Ken's comments. Visually great! Great voice acting! Didn't even realize that Emma Thompson was the voice of the mom. The story was not as ground-breaking as previous Pixar releases (like Up or Wall-E) and I would say that some of it is definitely too scary for little kids. We brought our 4 year old and covered her eyes while she cuddled with momma a few times." - Dave DeAndrea
"I saw it in 3D - great! Bear scenes were quite loud and intense at times, but exciting. A lot of native Scots in the cast, and some ring-ins. With a Scottish mother and an Irish father from big families I can pick a fake Celtic accent a mile off, and there were only a couple of 'grating' incidents in this one, which was a nice surprise. I still can't sit through 'Braveheart' or 'Rob Roy' because of the accents." - Trish McFerran
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