Pixar have had a rough deal of it as of late. It seems as though people were determined to hate Cars 2 no matter what, so it never really stood a chance - despite being an actually really fun film. That attitude has led many to foreseeing the, entirely fictionalised and false, fall of Pixar, which ultimately led to some unnecessarily harsh reviews of Brave. Saying "if this was a DreamWorks or Disney film, it'd be great. But it's Pixar, and we expect better" and giving it a harsh score is stupid; if it's a good film, it's a good film. And Brave is a good film. Rant over, for more, read my review of the film.
Now, onto the matter at hand. I bought the 3D Blu-ray package of Brave - despite not owning a 3D Blu-ray player - because it includes the regular 2D Blu-ray, and an exclusive 2D Blu-ray bonus disc! Sufficed to say, the picture quality is superb. It's a little underwhelming seeing the huge, sweeping shots of the trees and landscapes on the small screen when you've seen it in the cinema, but the well-defined, vibrant resolution will soon make you forget that.
The film's main character is a particular delight - both in character and definition - with her hair being so voluminous and wild, as well as vibrant and bright, and it just pops off the screen in HD. The palace scenes are well lit and impressive, but it's the scenes that take place outside that really steal the show visually. The mossy, green and ever-changing Scottish settings look phenomenal; I particularly loved the fishing scene, with the warm lighting, sparkling water, and gorgeous fur - it's a visual treat! The misty scenes, particularly those with the wisps in, were also wonderful.
In terms of sound, Brave again doesn't disappoint. Patrick Doyle's booming, intense score is powerful, really underscoring some of the film's more high-octaned scenes - it's most impressive and immersive at the start and end of the film. I felt my lack of Surround Sound speakers was particularly noticeable here though, because the sound felt a little flat at times - but that's no fault of Disney or Pixar's!
Fortunately, after Cars 2's very lacking special features - opting instead to shove them all on the 3D Blu-ray - Brave returns to rewarding fans with a glut of exciting bonuses, without making them shell out thousands of pounds, dollars, euros or whatever to get a 3D TV and Blu-ray player. The bonus features don't cover much we haven't seen or heard about in the Art of book or other material, but the footage shot by the crew during production, and the testimonials from people who worked on the film (both covered in the "Brave Old World" and "Clan Pixar" bonus features) are great. I really liked how much focus Pixar allowed to original director Brenda Chapman as well, the film is her's, and Pixar honoured that here.
The deleted scenes (under a feature called "Once Upon a Scene", introduced by director Mark Andrews) provide a great look at what could have been, the Extended Scenes do likewise - although there's very little groundbreakingly different in the latter. On the bonus disc, we get a really cool (although the animation's incomplete, so don't go expecting a visual treat here) alternate opening, "Fergus and Mor'du", which gives the film an even more intense feel - although you can see why they cut it, not having the main character in the first scene is a little short-sighted. Besides from an art gallery, there's not much more of note on the Bonus Disc, but, for only an extra £5, you do get a decent amount. The filmmakers' commentary on the main disc is great too, it features Mark Andrews, co-director Steve Purcell, editor Nick Smith and Story Supervisor Brian Larsen. It sounds a little packed, but Andrews leads the conversation, and it means you get a lot of insight and perspective from the key players - although it would've been nice to have Brenda Chapman in the mix.
The shorts on the disc were great too, La Luna is as brilliant, if not better, as the first time around, but even more magnificently beautiful. The painterly, delicate CG is so rich and so wonderful, and Michael Giacchino's gentle score is sublime. Brian Larsen's new short, The Legend of Mor'du, is great too, with a distinctively different visual style, and a great mix of a tense story with genuinely hilarious CG bits bookending it.
Brave is a brilliant film, and the 3D Blu-ray package is a jam-packed, gorgeous and fantastic set, which A113Animation highly recommends it as a Christmas present!
Movie recap: 9.5/10
Picture Quality: 9/10
Sound Quality: 9/10
Bonus Features: 8/10
Overall Blu-ray package: 9.5/10
Got an animation fan in the family? Well, then you just found out what to get them for Christmas! You can order the Brave Blu-ray 3D package via Amazon above.