Looking Forward To Brave?

Though it isn’t set to come out until June 22, 2012, teaser trailers and a few released images of Disney Pixar’s Brave have already excited plenty of buzz. This new and original take on a “princess” fairytale looks like a Celtic-flavored girl-power animated adventure. Not only do I expect the best from Pixar when it comes to CG animation, but I’m interested in seeing how their first film starring a heroine instead of a hero turns out.

Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through the generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland. In Brave, a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida (Kelly Macdonald) confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts.

Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Wise Woman (Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.

It’s not surprising that the graphics and artwork we’ve seen so far looks amazing. I would expect nothing less from the studio that brought us WALL-E, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo and Toy Story. Watching the trailer, I’m blown away by the CGI. Take a look at the way Merida’s hair moves! There is still a slightly cartoonish aspect to the modeling of faces and bodies, though that’s to be expected (this isn’t motion-capture animation, thank goodness). Not only hair movement but the overall action looks incredibly life-like. And as Brave will be released in Disney Digital 3-D, I think this project may be one of the best yet (though I’m particularly partial to WALL-E).

Director Mark Andrews will hopefully bring some humor and fun to Brave, a la past directorial projects like Ratatouille and The Incredibles. Brenda Chapman is getting co-director cred, though she was replaced with Andrews in a strange switch-up. Strange considering the hype around Chapman being the first female Pixar feature film director, while other studios have been more gender-equal when it comes to directorships. Chapman also has proved her mettle, as she directed Dreamworks’ Prince of Egypt. She also co-wrote Brave with Irene Mecchi, so the project is obviously something she’s close to.

I like that princess Merida is brave, accomplished, and independent. Sounds like she’ll make a good role model. Pixar has garnered some criticism as none of its animated feature films have female stars. As their “maiden“ voyage in that realm, and perhaps as an answer to those kinds of accusations, Brave looks like it will be an inspirational girl-power film that will put discussions of studio sexism to rest.

Check out the trailer below, what do you think?