The famed classic cinema El Capitan on Hollywood Boulevard once again lives up to its reputation as the best place to see Disney/Pixar movies, with its presentation of Brave, showing through August 12, featuring Disney Digital 3D and the immersive sound of Dolby Atmos and a special pre-movie live stage show starring favorite Disney/Pixar characters.
The historic El Capitan, with its lavish interior and grand auditorium, always add to the excitement of seeing a movie there, and El Cap fulfills its promise of a special movie experience with an exclusive musical salute to Hollywood’s 125th anniversary that gets the audience clapping and cheering, especially at the finale, when Brave’s dazzling flaming-red haired heroine, Merida, leads the cast in a lively Scottish jig. Also before the main attraction, the audience is treated to the charming, La Luna, a wordless magical tale of three generations of star tenders, which is sure to delight Pixar short film aficionados.
The much anticipated Brave takes place in the Highlands of Scotland, where the independent and strong-willed princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) rejects the traditional political marriage that is expected of her and instead endeavors to create her own destiny. It is also the story of a daughter’s love for her mother (voiced by Emma Thompson), though it takes an unexpected turn before Merida comes to understand the ways that her mother has always been there for her.
The 3D rendering is extraordinary in its presentation of nature, which is more prominent in Brave than in other Disney/Pixar films. The Dolby sound at the El Capitan at times was almost too realistic and resonate, especially during the ferocious bear fight scenes. Those violent episodes also may give pause to parents considering bringing younger children to the movie, though my four-year-old son was more afraid of the brief scenes with a wacky witch. Three characters I wish we had seen more of were Merida’s mischievous triplet siblings, which got lots of laughs from young audience members.
Brave has gotten lots of press for starring a feisty royal maiden who does not find her happiness through a man and marriage, and while this is a refreshing change in the traditional princess plot, Merida’s path to self-awareness involves a twist that many might find shocking, though parents can be assured that, as in all Disney/Pixar stories, it all ends well.