Film: 'Brave'; Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell; Actors: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson; Rating: ****
Wisdom is a funny thing. When you could really make good use of it, especially during the strength of your youth, you have very little. Youth too is funny, because when you have the strength to change the world, you lack the wisdom.
Between the strength of youth and wisdom of age, lies a no-man's land called generation gap, where people have fought since the beginning of human civilization.
'Brave' is a film situated in that place, trying to decimate fences on both sides of the warring parties in a fun, light-hearted and poignant way.
Merida (Kelly Macdonald), a young princess in a kingdom ruled by tradition, dislikes her mother who's perennially trying to wean her away from her archery and horse riding into more ladylike pursuits. She evokes a spell to change her mother not realising that it will literally change her physical appearance.
Mother-daughter must come to resolve their differences if the queen has to convert back. Turns out that understanding the other's perspective wasn't so hard after all.
'Brave' is a very unselfconscious, fun, well-written and well-executed film that blends history, myth, humour and fantasy with an impeccable animation that delivers an entertaining punch.
It is a film for the whole family as you'll find kids and adults on the two sides of the generation gap relating to it.
The heady detailing of animation makes you realise why Pixar is called the mother and father of modern animation.
A scene of Merida shooting an arrow is shot in slow motion: as the bowstring is released, the arrow bends with the intensity of the force pushing it forward, before it straightens mid-air and hits bull's eye.
The meticulous working in this scene becomes an analogy for the detailing in the entire film as well as in most Pixar fare.
Yet, at the core of it, Pixar understands that what humans relate to are emotional stories. The brilliant animation work works only to complement a well thought out and written screenplay, which in the tradition of children's art entertains kids as much as it enlightens them. And at the end, there's a lesson for everyone to take home and ponder - young and old alike.
The lesson is simple. It is not that parents are always right and kids always wrong. There's a middle ground where both generations can coexist and thrive.
'Brave' delivers a moral without letting the moral out. It teaches not just kids to listen to parents, but parents to be wise enough to listen to their kids and accommodate their strengths and enthusiasm into their wisdom. And it delivers this message with an emotional and humorous punch.
It talks of tradition and that it need not be followed without thought. It weaves magic without making the magic, the film or you feel out of place. And that is magical indeed.
You come out with the feeling that no war, be it literal, attitudinal or generational is inevitable but wisdom, understanding and peace can always be. Only a film brave enough to attempt so much, can do so.