"Brave" comes out on a three-disc set consisting of two Blu-ray discs and one DVD. This collector's edition houses the film's HD and SD copies, along with a generous number of bonus features. This 2012 Pixar animated picture directed by Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, and Steve Purcell tells the story of a flame-haired, tomboyish teen princess and her magical adventures in the ancient Highlands of Scotland. It stars Kelly MacDonald, Julie Walters, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd, and Craig Ferguson.
This traditional offering geared toward the family audience utilizes a familiar fairy tale premise. It bears hints of mysticism and broad comedy, while interplaying its royal mother-and-daughter drama and high-energy action with a distinctly animated charm. Yet, it clearly intends to stray farther from the generic Disney mold by forgoing the frilly dresses, saccharine songs, and sappy romance. Instead, its Disney Princess approach infuses a feisty, independent, and reckless heroine character to explore the story of a rebelliously modern lass trapped in a period setting.
This Blu-ray material's sumptuous design showcases an extremely broad, demo-worthy palette of lavish reds, fiery oranges, gorgeous greens, pristine blues, disarming earth tones, and inky blacks. Every part of the spectrum is beautifully represented to create many visually arresting scenes that are filled with such effervescent hues and painstaking details. Merida's iconic pile of curls, one of the many highlights of the presentation, takes a life of its own. It practically pops off the screen every time.
Amazing work is very much apparent with the sweeping, rolling hills and mountains, lush and misty forests, and miniscule hairs of bears and other animals. With the meticulous attention to detail, nothing misses the mark and everything is beautiful to watch. Edges are always sharp and clean. Textures are terrifically resolved throughout. No instances of macroblocking, aliasing, and other eyesores plague the picture.
The package delivers an accurate-as-an-arrow seven-channel lossless soundtrack, along with seven-channel French, five-channel Spanish and French, and stereo English mixes as alternative audio options. The nuanced track beautifully complements the film's stunning image quality. From the subtle atmospherics to the powerful accents, everything works seamlessly in the competent mix. Anywhere from the clear whispering to the pompous roaring boast impeccable dynamics, strong bass, boisterous LFE, and aptly prioritized dialogue.
Its show-stopping sonic prowess brings such a mystical world to life through its pitch-perfect range of sonic textures, precise directional effects, devilishly smooth pans, and constant surround activity. The mesmerizing Celtic orchestrations provide heft and presence to every scene. No imperfections significantly affect the quality of the presentation.
The first Blu-ray disc contains an audio commentary track by director Mark Andrews, co-director Steve Purcell, story supervisor Brian Larsen, and editor Nick Smith, as well as two short films, eight behind-the-scene featurettes, and four extended scenes. The second disc hosts a variety of production and promotional pieces including "Fergus & Mor'Du: An Alternate Opening," "Dirty Hairy People," "and "Art Galleries," to name a few. Subtitle options are available in English, English SDH, Spanish, and French.
Although often described as a lesser entry to the Pixar canon, the technically enchanting "Brave" still maintains some distinctively unique and unpredictable elements. It still has the studio's flair for engaging audiences through emotional depth and artistry. As a bold and well-intentioned piece, it attempts to go beyond the overused yarn of princess tales. However, the story's progression somehow betrays its potential as it makes a 180-degree turn halfway through. By then, the narrative throws itself into a run-of-the-mill category with many elements regretfully not working in the film's favor.