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Brave: Ultimate Collector’s Edition Review

“Brave” is another Pixar winner.

The story: Merida (the daughter of Queen Elinot and King Fergus of the DunBroch clan) is arranged to be married to one one of the other Scottish clan’s sons. Rather than do what her mother claims is best for the DunBroch clan and for her, however, Merida would rather live life her way. Wishing her mother would “change” and see things her way, Merida winds up getting her wish via the help of a witch. With the spell cast, Merida tries to right a wrong by reversing the spell before it leads to further damage.

While not on par with the likes of the “Toy Story” trilogy or “Up,” “Brave” is an interesting Pixar film in its own right. Not only does it harken back to traditional Disney classics, but it adds its own spin to it. Rather than have a female heroine who pines for a Prince, the main character (Merida) of “Brave” is a refreshingly, fiercely independent and driven young woman who wants to do things her way and doesn’t want to be married. Naturally, her ideology clashes with her mother’s which turns out to be the heart and the conflict of the movie. It’s very much a mother/daughter story and a sweet one at that.

Another surprise is that “Brave” doesn’t have a true villain either. Yes, a villain does appear briefly in spots, but he’s more of a symbolic character than anything else.

The story structure also bucks the trend of what viewers would consider traditional storytelling. Without spoiling what major event happens, I will say that a big scene changes the direction of the story and offers up surprising amounts of humor and characterization along the way (especially with the triplet brothers and the “hiding” sequences).

Summary: With plenty of adventure, magic, archery, humor and, more importantly, heart, “Brave” is well worth seeing.

Note: The 5 disc collection includes a Blu-ray copy, a Blu-ray 3D copy, a digital copy, a DVD copy and an extra Blu-ray disc of bonus features.

Video/Audio:

The film, which is presented in 2.39:1 1080p, looks positively stunning on Blu-ray. From the detailed curly red hair to the lifelike water, your jaw will drop at this transfer. One of the best transfers I have seen this year.

The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio track is a prime example of a perfect 7.1 track. The voice work, the booming score, the bear roars, and the chaotic clan scenes sound as lively as you hope they would.

Extras:
* The charming moon and star centric “La Luna” animated short that accompanied “Brave” in theaters.
* “The Legend Of Mordu”- A new animated short that tells the backstory of the King’s 4 sons (including the villainous Mordu).
* Disney trailers.
* Commentary by Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brian Larsen and Nick Smith. The 4 chat about ideas that never happened, characters, the voice cast, and film references. It’s not the most exciting track, but it’s solid enough.
* 4 extended scenes.

* “Once Upon A Scene”- A look at the various stages of certain scenes.

* “Clan Pixar”- An almost day-in-the-life look at a number of Pixar crew members working on “Brave.”

* “Magic”- A look at the fairytale/magical aspects of “Brave.”

* “Wonder Moss”- A featurette on something you probably wouldn’t expect to see- the green moss in “Brave.”

* “Bears”- A piece on the bear characters (and bear animation). No spoilers here.

* “Brawl In The Hall”- A featurette on the making of the wacky clan battle.

* “Merida and Elinor”- An in-depth featurette on everything that goes into these characters (animation and voice work especially).

* “Brave Old World”- A cool featurette in which we see the Pixar crew traveling around Scotland for research and inspiration.

* Art still galleries of characters, color keys, development art, environments and graphics.

* “Angus”- A featurette on the making of the horse character (Angus).

* “Promotional Pieces”- 3 trailers, character segments, film clips, and new scenes.

* “The Tapestry”- A piece on the family tapestry featured in the film.

* “It’s English…Sort Of”- A short extra on Scottish lingo and terms.

* “Dirty Hairy People”- A featurette on the authentic clothing and appearance of people in the time period.

* “Fallen Warriors”- A collection of edited out shots.

* “Fergus and Mordu Alternate Opening”- An unfinished alternate animated opening animatic.

3D review from David: One of the best things about this 3D disc is the way Disney has made the 3D presentation enhance the viewers appreciation of the graphic presentation.  Stunning details emerge while viewing this disc without using cheap 3D gimmicks.  The entire picture shows great depth and detail from the Irish countryside, the floating Will Of The Wisps  to the many site gags that run throughout the entire film.  Best 3D happens during the highland games segment but the overall 3D image is just beautiful.  Worth the extra bucks for this 3D set.

November 12, 2012 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review, DVD review | , , , ,

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