Brave (3D): Reviewed
Brave is the latest CGI full length animated film from Pixar. In fact it’s the 13th Pixar film under the Walt Disney banner and a few individuals have already criticised the movie for not being as original as some of the studios previous offerings such as ‘Toy Story’, ‘WALL-E’ and ‘UP’.
The story does indeed following the old fashioned Disney formula, a medieval land ruled by a King and Queen with a beautiful Princess as the central character. We also have an old hag of a witch, magic spells, mythical creatures and a castle. What makes this film stand out is that the writers have not used the typical fairy story setting. Instead they have set the tale in the highlands of Scotland which gives the animators the opportunity to create some of the most amazingly colourful visuals of coastline and woodland landscapes.
The writers and directors Brenda Chapman (ex animator and writer of Beauty and the Beast) and Mark Andrews (ex storyboard artist and writer) have steered away from the American idea of Scotland and used a plethora of Scottish vocal acting talent. Surprisingly the strong accents have not been dumbed down and the likes of Billy Connolly and Robbie Coltrane have been allowed to let rip with their trademark colloquialisms.
The film opens with Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald ‘No Country for Old Men’ and TV’s Boardwalk Empire) grow from a child to a young woman about to come of age. Her mother Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) is grooming her daughter for marriage and organises a tournament bringing together three young male suitors from neighbouring clans with a view to unite all the clans as one. Unfortunately Merida has other plans. She feels more at home as a tomboy riding her massive shire horse Angus through the forest while accurately shooting arrows at swinging targets and climbing up steep cliff faces.
Her father King Fergus (Connolly)feels obliged to go along with his wife’s wishes but can’t help encouraging Merida’s antics as there’s some of the playfulness in Fergus that’s been passed on to his daughter. However, Merida takes her rebellious streak too far and in an attempt to make her mother change her mind about the impending marriage she seeks the help of a woodland witch whose spell may alter Merida’s fate forever.
This film is a mixture of a traditional fairy tale with love conquering all and some modern values of growing up, appreciating family values and respecting each other’s view. There is also a very funny script with some wonderful throw away lines to listen out for plus a little bit of nudity! As with all Disney cartoons there are some quite frightening moments as well, this may be why the film has a PG certificate rather than the usual U that we tend to associate with Disney. There is a particularly huge and vicious bear that even scarred a few of the adults at the screening. But then again this has become an integral ingredient of Disney storytelling and they have always managed to balance the fear factor with the comedy element. Let’s face it, all kids love being scared...as long as there is a happy ending.
It looks as though big curly red hair will be the look this summer. And why not?
A colourful 4 out of 5 stars.
Cinema release date: August 13