Thursday, June 22, 2017

This Day In Pixar History: Brave Theatrical Release

Five years ago today, on June 22, 2012, Pixar's 13th film, Brave, had its theatrical release. It opened in first place with over $66 million and went on to make over $540 million worldwide. Brave won a number of awards, including the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film, the BAFTA for Best Animated Film and the Golden Globe award for Best Animated Feature Film.

Brave was released with the excellent short film La Luna by Enrico Casarosa, with a beautiful score by Michael Giacchino.

Brave was a great, fresh take on the fairy tale story with strong female characters and a new interpretation of a princess character. It's really the relationship between Merida and Elinor that moves the story forward and sets it apart.

The archery scene where Merida declares she will shoot for her own hand, and splits Dingwall's arrow with her own, still gives me goosebumps. The film then jumps to the fight inside the castle between Merida and her mother; the animation is beautiful and full of such emotion. I also just love the music; I still often listen to the soundtrack (composed by Patrick Doyle), and think Touch the Sky is an awesome song.

I remember being stunned by the complexity of the film - the number of sets; all the atmospheric conditions -  rain, water, mist and fog; the different light conditions - full sunlight, candles and torches, moonlight,  and dark shadowed forests. And how can we forget Merida's wild and crazy hair?! It was a huge leap forward in simulations, photorealistic sets and environments.

Here are some fun facts:
  • The inspiration for the story came from director Brenda Chapman's relationship with her daughter.
  • Sadly, there isn't a director's commentary to the film, but fortunately there is a LARGE number of interesting and entertaining bonus features including ones on the music, the design language of the relationship between Merida and her mother, alternate and deleted scenes, computer-generated bloopers and an in-depth look at director Mark Andrews. The promos for the film were also hilarious!
  • To blow off steam (and to help rejuvenate the creative juices) during the production of the film, the crew would partake in Scottish activities such as eating haggis, wearing kilts and Nerf wars (not sure if that last one really qualifies as purely Scottish!)
  • Two of the songs in the film, Touch the Sky and Into the Open Air, were created by Alex Mandel, who was a Pixar manager. Director Mark Andrews helped come up with the lyrics with Alex on Touch the Sky.
  •  111,394 storyboards were created for the film, compared to 80,000 for Cars 2 and 92,854 for Toy Story 3.

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