The title is Brave but perhaps it ought to have been Proud. It is ultimately pride, not bravery, that lies at the heart of the latest Disney Pixar film. Scottish Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly MacDonald), a headstrong tomboy, has reached marrying age. Per tradition, the three other clans all submit their candidates for her hand. Tensions flare between Merida and her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), precipitating the young woman to run out into the forest to blow off some steam. There is where things take an unexpected turn. Merida encounters a witch, who sells her a potion to “change” her mother.
Following the success of Peter Jackson‘s Lord of the Rings trilogy (the third installment of which went on to become only the second entry in that elite “Billion Dollar Club”), it seemed like every studio wanted to jump on the fantasy-adventure bandwagon. And increasingly, the inspiration for such films has seemed to come from books targeted primarily at younger readers. The more popular franchises to arise from this trend were the Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia series. (The seventh and eighth Potter films are in theaters now and next summer, and the third Narnia film hits in December.)
But for those tired of the big franchises and looking for more one-off adventures, there is a pair of films that were produced by Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies in the past decade that offer plenty of thrills and spills, and entertaining journeys into fantastical realms. They are clearly targeted at family audiences, but it is my opinion that there’s plenty to enjoy in them for adults as well, and I like them both more than the average Potter or Narnia film. So step into the Reel Rumbles ring for a battle of fantastic proportions as we take on The Spiderwick Chronicles vs. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.