Pixar’s latest movie Lightyear has not quite hit the mark with critics and audiences, particularly when compared to past Pixar movies, where their characters, story, and worldbuilding have enthralled many for years. One such movie is Brave, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.
In the ten years since its release, Brave has undergone many ups and downs in the Disney and Pixar fandoms. For better or worse, the movie about the fiery princess Merida continues to be one of the most talked-about and consistently rated films, displaying just how much of a lasting impression Disney movies can still have.
It’s Historically Accurate (Sort Of)
According to World History, King Clovis I was more or less the ruler of early France. He was one of the earliest conquerors of Europe, leading to much of Germany and France being under his rule. His death led to the collapse of his empire and the squabbling of his sons, which is akin to the prince Mor’du becoming a bear.
Her Chess Set Is Famous
One of the most striking pieces of historical accuracy is the chess set that briefly appears on the screen when Merida is in her room. The chess set is most obviously used when her mother uses it to showcase how important it is to continue keeping the balance of the families in Scotland.
The pieces that were used are the Lewis Chess Pieces, as seen in National Museums of Scotland, and it is a famous example of how early mainland culture and games spread throughout the lands. The Lewis Pieces help place the timeline of the movie to take place in the 12th century, a remarkable hidden detail included by the Pixar team
Animating Merida’s Hair
Merida’s fiery red locks are more than just one of the most striking styles in Pixar’s films, it is also something of a technical marvel. Many underestimate just how much work goes into the animation of a 3D character, let alone the amount of technical knowledge it takes to make it look good.
Getting curly hair to sit properly is difficult enough in real life, but in an animated work like Brave, it takes in-depth expertise, hard work, and patience. According to Inside Sciencethe technology to animate her hair actually made a big splash in the industry during the movie’s release, but many forget how far animation has come since then.
The Family Tapestry
The torn tapestry is one of the recurring images seen throughout Brave. This artwork is critical to the plot, or at least Merida thinks it is. But the tapestry’s importance goes beyond the story, the tapestry itself is another piece of technological magic that had to be worked on behind the scenes.
A piece of fabric like the tapestry is made up of thousands of fibers, and The Herald states that in order to get the tapestry to tear properly, the team at Pixar actually developed tools to create the individual threads, rather than just using a premade texture as other animators might. This provides that in-depth realism to the cloth.
The Language Is Legit
A running gag in the film is that Doric, one of Merida’s suitors, speaks a neigh-incomprehensible dialect that comes across almost like a Scottish version of Boomhauer from King of the Hill. But the origins of his off-kilter ramblings are actually quite legitimate and inspired.
The voice actor for both Lord Macguffin and his son is Kevin McKidd, a Scottish actor and voice actor. According to the Huffington Post, McKidd based his young Macguffin voice on the Doric dialect, which originates from the lowlands of Scotland. His inspired choice provided the character not only with more comedy but more legitimacy.
The King’s Tartan Is Protected
Tartan is a type of cloth and pattern which is very strongly associated with Scotland. What’s more, there are patterns and colors of tartan unique to individual Scottish clans and families.
Each clan’s tartan represents various elements of the clan, such as region or reputation. The Pixar team went out of their way to register the Dunbroch Tartan pattern with the Tartan Registry of Scotland. It was one of the aspects of Scottish culture explored in Braveand ensures authenticity in the movie.
The Witch’s Carvings Foreshadow The Film
It is possible that the Witch’s carvings seem to predict the future. Merida is shown three carvings that feature bears, including two bears playing with a box, a bear catching a fish, and then finally two bears reaching towards each other in a recreation of “The Creation of Adam.”
The first carving, which she says can “brighten any dark chamber,” could be foreseeing Bear-Elinor and the cubs in the Castle. The Bear catching a fish mirrors Elinor and Merida fishing and growing closer. Then the final carving would predict the moment when Elinor saves Merida from Mor’du.
Even The Logo Has Hidden Gems
As the first Pixar film after being bought by Disney, there are hidden gems and Easter eggs galore throughout Brave. From the Hidden Mickey that Disney is known for to the A113 that Pixar always includes, there are a huge number of these moments throughout the film.
One of the earliest moments of a hidden image is in the brief flash of the film’s logo. Just after the flashback to young Merida’s first bow, the film’s logo appears. In the B and E of the title artwork, sharp-eyed viewers can make out the shapes of a mother and daughter, mirroring the theme of the film, and one of the best mother-child stories in any animated Disney movie.
Merida Got A (Brief) Makeover
It is not uncommon for Disney Princesses to have many different appearances throughout the Disney franchise. Many versions of every princess show up throughout films like Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet or in different television shows on the Disney + streaming site.
In a very hot bit of controversy, Merida was given a different look for the Princess Collection. According to The Guardian, there was a lot of negative criticism over the changes, moving to start a Change.org petition against it. The changes included bigger eyes, a more slender body, and other changes that were said to be removing Merida’s character and making her appear “glam”.
The Pizza Planet Truck Makes An Appearance
One of the most consistent eastern eggs throughout all Pixar movies is the inclusion of the Pizza Planet truck. This Easter egg was likely a struggle to include in the creation of a pre-combustion engine world like Brave‘s, but it appears nonetheless.
The Pizza Planet Truck appears in the Witch’s woodcarving shop, possibly further confirming the possibility that the Witch can predict the future through her art. The Pizza Planet Truck appears among her creations alongside a carved Pixar “Luxo Ball” and a carved bas-relief that depicts Sulley from Monsters Inc.
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