Disney Pixar’s Brave: The Movie, The Game and The Experience

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My kids have been waiting patiently for the opening of Disney Pixar’s Brave ever since the set their eyes on the effervescent red-head portrayed within the trailers. From the movie to the video game and now the adventure, families can experience everything Brave.

Brave The Movie

It’s true, Brave is another Princess story but before you go rolling your eyes, it’s not the typical princess story you have come to expect from Disney. Merida, the princess and main character in the story Brave, is a very strong-willed and independently minded girl. Although her mom believes she should live up the stereotypical role of a princess, Merida craves adventure. This difference of opinion is what triggers the catalyst for the story Brave. Without going into great detail, Merida makes a deal with a witch, a deal to change her fate, but she gets more than she bargains for. Now Merida has to find her mother and set things back the way they were, before time runs out.

After seeing Disney Pixar’s Brave with our 5 and 10 year old, daughters, my husband feels Merida is the best princess introduced by Disney to date. Both my girls loved the movie too. Although it is a Disney film, the PG rating is in place due to some of the intense scenes within the movie. There is fighting with items like swords though no fatalities occur and some of the scenes within the forest can feel scary to smaller kids, especially on a big screen. My 5-year old wasn’t phased but my 10-year was worried about Merida’s fate within the movie a few times. My oldest daughter cried during various scenes in the film too, especially when it came to Merida’s mother’s transformation and the problem Merida had in correcting this. The whole relationship between mother and daughter is central to the movie and it’s this relationship and the tests the two women endure that seem to add to the film’s intensity. The idea that the Merida caused the transformation on her mother (from human into creature) may have a profound impact on young kids watching the film. My youngest didn’t make this connection but my oldest did and it really affected her.

Not surprising, Disney did an amazing job with the 3D effect. Like their earlier film Tangled, the 3D effect adds more to the depth to the film’s scenery. It places you more within the film versus using the technology as a gimmick to toss things at you. My husband and daughter’s enjoyed the 3D experience though I’m sure younger audiences may not pick-up on the 3D benefits as much as an older audience do.

We enjoy watching Disney’s princess movies but I do love that Disney Pixar’s Brave film doesn’t have the typical ‘finding prince charming in order to live happily ever after’ ending. My husband and 10-year old daughter loved the film, as did my 5-year old, but the story line around the mother and daughter relationship and the somewhat scary scenes might be reason to wait until the film comes out on video before showing it to your very young children.

Brave The Video Game

After seeing Disney Pixar’s Brave movie in theatres, my kids couldn’t wait to get into the movie with Disney Interactive’s newly released Brave The Video Game (Wii, PS3, NDS, and Xbox 360). The game is based on the same story premise — Merida tries to change her fate and ends up transforming her mother. The game play has you, in the role of Merida, traveling through different worlds, battling creatures, and collecting rewards, all working toward the final goal of rescuing your mother and three brothers.  The worlds and adventures Merida encounters within the game have no connection to the movie itself but that certainly doesn’t detract from the experience.

Brave the game is mainly a single-player game, however, like the movie Merida can receives help from a Wisp in the game. The Wisp is a drop-in/drop-out character designed for co-op play within the game. Pressing the start button on our XBOX controller brought the Wisp character up and gave it the ability to use the same charms as Merida to fight and collect rewards. The Wisp character is great for younger game players, like my 5-year old. She could pop in and out whenever she wanted to play (without disrupting the game for the main player) but the big bonus is the Wisp never looses lives. After a 14 second count, a new life appears. As I said, the Wisp role is great for younger players, but serious game players might find this character frustrating to use. It’s a secondary character in the game play, meaning it can sometimes get lost on screen. My 5-year old loved this character option but for myself, I loved playing the main character.

As the Brave game is based on a movie, game play is somewhat limiting. You can only upgrade so much and when you’ve completed the mission there’s no real need to play again. There are, however, four different play levels, making play a little harder each time you play. The same thing I love about the movie, the strong female character, holds true in the game making it appealing for game-playing girls, but the game play isn’t just limited to girls. My 8-year old son enjoyed playing the Brave video game almost as much as my daughter (and myself).

If your gaming device is the XBOX 360 with Kinect, you have the added bonus of doing a little archery practice. Using the Kinect system, you aim, draw and fire your bow at various targets. This might be a little finicky for younger players but I do love the interactivity experience Kinect gives you. Even after doing just two rounds of target practice, my upper arms were sore (a sign I need to workout more, perhaps).

For a mobile Brave movie experience, there is Temple Run Brave. My kids are huge fans of the original Temple Run, a fast finger action game that has you running and jumping and dodging to save your life. My 10-year old had the chance to try the Brave version of the game and really enjoyed it. My daughter found the Brave version of Temple Run harder than the original but she actually enjoyed it more.

Brave The Experience

The whole world of Brave is very mysterious, with the accents, kilts, legends and castles. Now families can live the Brave experience with Adventures by Disney new itinerary Scotland: A Brave Adventure. Step between the standing stones just like Merida does as she embarks on her journey or try your hand at archery. This 9 day/8 night experience promises to be a true family adventure that only Disney can provide, including beautiful accommodations, sumptuous food and unique experiences you won’t receive anywhere else. I think if I was to explore Scotland with my family, the Adventures by Disney Scotland: A Brave Adventure would be the way to go.

Or focus your experience in Edinburgh with the Rocco Forte’s The Balmoral’s A Mythical Family Affair package. The Balmoral offers the perfect location from which to discover Scotland’s rich history, epic battles and mythical legends, which served as the inspiration for the film. A Mythical Family Affair package includes overnight accommodation in two interconnecting rooms with full Scottish Breakfast, fast-track tickets to Edinburgh Castle, a ‘BRAVE’ gift on arrival and room amenity for the children.

With Disney’s introduction to a princess with spunk, determination, and a will of her own, Brave promises adventure in the movie, game on the hills of Scotland.

I want to thank the folks at Disney Interactive and High Road Communications for the advanced screening of Brave the movie and the Brave video game.

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