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We ventured to the movies Tuesday evening (June 26, 2012) to see Disney Pixar’s “Brave.” An added bonus, it was shown in 3-D.

In addition to it being a night out with the kiddos, my sister and her daughter, I considered it an early birthday present to myself, as I longed to see this movie for its Scottish flair. Like Disney Pixar’s “Cars” in 2006, I walked out of the movie theater eager to buy it once it hits stores on DVD.

The movie was a combination of emotions. It was funny, adventurous and, at the same time, scary. There were black bears in the movie, and in 3-D they were very much alive. The surround sound was quite loud, making it all the more real.

Through it all, my 3-year-old didn’t flinch. He sported youth 3-D glasses like his 8-year-old sister and 6-year-old cousin and sat contentedly in my lap as he watched on the big screen. Half way through the movie, however, he must have had enough. He took off the glasses and snuggled a bit more into my lap with his blanket. I think he was tired, too, as we headed to the last showing of the day (8:30 p.m.).

For those who don’t know, “Brave” tells the story of Princess Merida, a free-spirited girl with a mop of long, tossled red curls, blue eyes and fair skin who has a knack for archery and a determination to make her own mark in the world rather than having tradition do it for her. Taking place long ago in the Highlands of Scotland, Merida breaks tradition of allowing suitors from three clans to compete for her heart and instead embraces a spell to change her fate — and her mother’s strict, traditional thinking.

The spell proves disastrous, and if Merida doesn’t use her skills and her bravery to break the spell before a second sunrise, it will remain permanent and change the course of her life and her country’s forever. (I won’t tell what that spell is in the event I would spoil it for those who haven’t, and want to, see the movie.)

With an Irish and Scottish heritage, I couldn’t wait to see this movie. My sister and I loved it, and so did my daughter, who embraced the latest Disney Princess.

Speaking of Disney Princesses, Merida is quite different from the traditional ladies like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. She is headstrong with a mind of her own, yet sees in the end the importance of family and tradition, to a degree.

Merida actually kind of reminds me of Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” and Mulan from “Mulan.” Both of those princesses were also, to a point, free thinkers. Belle was intelligent, embracing reading and standing her ground when it came to dealing with Gaston, the macho village hunter who was determined to make her his wife, and the Beast, who eventually became a prince again when he grew to love Belle and gained her love in return.

Belle has been my daughter’s favorite Disney Princess, but I think Merida matches that favoritism now. Doing a little Web surfing this morning, I told Amber that Disney has a Merida doll with her horse, Angus, available. Needless to say, I think Santa will be busy this year with some “Brave” items on her list!

Looking at Mulan, she too, defied tradition in taking her father’s place to fight in a war and declaring that she believed a person should marry for love and not for tradition.

I guess what I’m saying here is when little girls are looking to female characters as role models, it’s nice to see some who are independent and beautiful in more ways than one, from their spirits to their personalities.