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Brave (previously titled The Bear and the Bow) is a 2012 American computer-animated fantasy adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.
It was written by Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, and Irene Mecchi, directed by Andrews and Chapman and co-directed by Purcell. The film's voice cast features Kelly Macdonald, Julie Walters, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, and Robbie Coltrane. To make the most complex visuals possible, Pixar completely rewrote their animation system for the first time in 25 years. It is the first film to use the Dolby Atmos sound format.
In the film, set in the Highlands of 10th-century Scotland, a skilled archer named Merida defies an age-old custom, causing chaos in her kingdom. After consulting a witch for help, her family becomes cursed and Merida is forced to undo the spell herself before it is too late. Brave premiered on June 10, 2012, at the Seattle International Film Festival, and was released in North America on June 22, 2012, to positive reviews.
Preceding the film is a short film entitled La Luna, directed by Enrico Casarosa.
In Scotland, King Fergus of Clan DunBroch presents his young daughter Merida with a bow for her birthday. While practicing, Merida encounters a will-o'-the-wisp. Soon afterwards, Mor'du, a giant demon bear, attacks the family. Merida escapes along with her mother Queen Elinor while Fergus fights off the bear at the cost of his left leg. Years later, Elinor has given birth to identical triplet boys and Merida has become a free-spirited teenager. Her mother informs her she is to be betrothed to the first-born son of one of the heads of her father's allied clans. Reminding Merida of a legend about a prince who ruined his own Kingdom, Elinor warns her that failure to marry could harm the Kingdom. Despite the warning, Merida is dissatisfied with the arrangement.
The clans arrive with their first-born sons to compete in Highland Games for the princess' hand. During the games, Merida declares she is also eligible to compete for her own hand as the first-born of Clan DunBroch. Infuriated by this stunt, Elinor has a falling out with Merida. After damaging the family tapestry, Merida flees into the woods. There, the will-o'-the-wisps lead her to the hut of an elderly witch who at first pretends to be a wood carver. After some bargaining, the witch agrees to give Merida a spell in the form of a cake to change her mother.
At the castle, the now feuding clans are on the verge of war, but Merida quells the fighting by reminding them of their combined clan's honorable and heroic history together. She then implores that children should be allowed to choose for themselves whom to love and get married in their own time. Amid the bewilderment of her awe-struck kin, Merida then sneaks into the tapestry room with Elinor who is losing control of her human self. Fergus discovers their ravaged bed chamber and is attacked by Elinor until she regains human consciousness and races out of the castle in desperation. Thinking that Elinor is Mor'du, Fergus gives chase. With the help of her brothers, who have been transformed into cubs by eating the leftover cake, Merida rides in pursuit of her father's hunting party while sewing up the tapestry. The clan members and Fergus capture Elinor, but Merida intervenes before Mor'du arrives and attacks. Elinor fights him off and kills Mor'du by luring him under a falling menhir, finally releasing the ancient prince's accursed spirit.
Merida drapes the restitched tapestry over Elinor, but it does not work. After professing her love and reconciling with Elinor, her mother is transformed back along with the triplets, and the family is reunited. A few days later, the visiting clans depart for their respective lands and Merida and Elinor ride their horses together.
In a post-credits scene, the witch's crow asks a castle guard to sign for a delivery of wooden carvings that Merida had bought simultaneously with the spell.