Blu-ray Review: Brave

Brave Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Disney/Pixar | DIRECTOR: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell | CAST: Emma Thompson, Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 11/13/2012 | PRICE: DVD $29.99, Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo $39.99, Five-Disc Blu-ray 3D Combo $49.99
BONUSES: featurettes, short films, commentary, alternate opening
SPECS: PG | 93 min. | Animated family | 2.39:1 aspect ratio | 7.1 Dolby TrueHD audio | English, French and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

BravePixar did it again with Brave, serving up a heart-warming story that has plenty of laughs and action and looks fantastic.

The studio turned to the Scottish highlands of long ago for this movie, telling the story of a girl who will do anything to break the marriage tradition that the security of the clans have depended on for years. In the process, her relationship with her mother will be rocked, tested and brought much closer.

Nanny McPhee‘s Kelly Macdonald and Emma Thompson are brilliantly paired as the voices of the headstrong Merida and her prim and proper mother Elinor, respectively. Billy Connolly (Gulliver’s Travels) lends his rough voice to father and clan leader Fergus, and the cast also features British greats Julie Walters (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2), Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1), Kevin McKidd (TV’s Rome) and Craig Ferguson (Winnie the Pooh).

With its digital animation, Brave is the kind of movie that’s made for Blu-ray’s high-definition. The colors are saturated, with Merida’s red hair, the magical blue will-o-wisps and the green of the Scottish land shining beautifully. And Disney’s inclusion of 7.1 high-def audio is very appreciated.

Disney also didn’t skimp on the special features. The set comes with two Blu-ray discs, one with the movie, two short films and a heap load of featurettes and a second with another heap load of featurettes.

The first animted short film is “La Luna,” a whimsical story about generations who take care of the stars and the moon, which ran with Brave in theaters. The second is “The Legend of Mor’du,” with the witch from Brave telling the story behind the film’s dreaded bear. Both are fun and worth a look.

The movie disc also offers up a slew of behind-the-scenes featurettes that are interesting and entertaining. None are so long that they overstay their welcome, but they give us a good look at various aspects of the film’s production.

“Brave Old World” shows the filmmakers traveling around Scotland doing research, including sleeping in bunk beds in the Wee Bunk House in one rural area. Thompson and others talk about the Scottish things the filmmakers got right.

Featurettes “Merida & Elinor” and “Bears” tell us about the filmmakers’ inspirations of the characters and the challenges of creating the characters, including Merida’s bouncy hair and the designs of the different animals. And others show the artists examining moss, legends and all things Scottish.

The rest of the special features include a commentary with the directors, three extended scenes, an alternate opening with Fergus and his enemy Mor’du, and more.

Some of the most fun extras are “It is English… Sort Of,” with the actors interpreting some of the film’s Scottlish words, and the “Wee Gaffes” montage of animation bloopers.

Once again, we also LOVE that Disney makes it easy for viewers to skip the ads and trailers at the beginning and get straight to the menu. Thank you, Disney, for making our viewing experience better.

Buy or Rent Brave
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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.