Here, Destiny is a guarded word whose existence harbors surprisingly few meanings, but for Merida, it doesn't matter if doing things her own way doesn't jive with the opinions of her stately mother (Queen Elinor), heroic father (King Fergus), and overzealous clan leaders (Lords MacGuffin, Dingwall, and Macintosh).
However, the more the girl commits to her self interests, the further she exposes her beloved kingdom to fantastic peril. Merida is defying tradition, and the results of her actions are, by all accounts, catastrophic.
In this ancient land, the Scots are well acquainted with primeval wisps, eccentric witches, and various other phantasmagoric goings-on. But when Merida opens a Pandora's Box of sorts (namely, unleashing the historically evil demon bear Mor'du), it becomes strikingly clear that she's the only one who can set things straight; and no doubt, she's going to go about it in her own way.
Brave enters theaters this week, directed by Mark Andrews and produced by Katherine Sarafian. True to Pixar Animation Studios' history of producing features whose focus in on character dynamics, Brave zeros in on the tension between Merida and her mother, Elinor. The mother is doing her best to pass on a mountain of personal wisdom and strength, but the girl feels as if her adventurousness is being whittled away by the objectivity that being a "royal" entails. Andrews, the director, served as story supervisor on Pixar's Ratatouille (2007) and The Incredibles (2004); Sarafian produced the short film "Lifted" (2006) and served as production manager for The Incredibles.
Ideally, this "plucky princess" with a talent for horseback riding and all things archery will do more than satisfy Pixar purists in search of a legitimate heroine; Merida might encourage plenty of other plucky kids to keep connected to their family as well.