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Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, Brave is perhaps the most Disneyesque of all of Pixar's productions.


The main character is a strong-minded princess called Merida (voiced by Kelly MacDonald). Frustrated by her family's rules and traditions, Merida wants to break free and take control of her own destiny. Her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) has quite different ideas, and would rather see her acting as a lady, rather than shooting arrows on horseback.


With the final straw being a contest between the first born of each clan to determine her future husband, Merida instead decides to venture out on her own. Before long she encounters an old hag (Julie Walters) who promises to fix her problems with witchcraft. Of course, the spell doesn't have quite the desired effect, and Merida spends the rest of the film trying to put things right.


The iconic Billy Connolly, Craig Ferguson, Robbie Coltrane and Pixar regular John Ratzenberger also lend their familiar voices in supporting roles.


All of the characters are beautifully designed and animated. The same care and detail has also gone into the scenery, which is by far the best that Pixar has ever created. You really get a great sense of the environment, which will undoubtedly do wonders for Scottish tourism.


As the usual musical stylings of Randy Newman would have felt very out of place, Pixar have thankfully gone for a more traditional Scottish sound instead, with original songs and music.


While the title, setting and Scottish warriors with blue face paint may suggest an animated Braveheart, this is very much a fantasy  film. Complete with magic, willow the wisps, and anthropomorphic animals, Brave marks a refreshing new direction for Pixar.


That said, longtime Disney fans may recognise certain themes and iconic scenes lifted from previous House of Mouse productions (Beauty and the Beast, The Emperor's New Groove and Tangled, to name but a few).


Brave is ultimately an enjoyable highland tale with a courageous female role model, and enough humour to keep children of all ages entertained. If it manages to repeat Pixar's previous box office successes (which it undoubtedly will), I'm sure there is plenty more of Merida's story still to be told...

Review by: Mark O'Connell

Date: 13th August 2012



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