Directors: Mark Andrew, Brenda Chapman and Steve Purcell.
Voices: Kelly MacDonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson.
Written by: Mark Andrew, Steve Purcell, Irene Mecchi and (also story) Brenda Chapman.
Running Time: 100 mins
Release date: 13th August 2012
Those of you who read my reviews on a regular basis (and thank you for that) will know of my absolute hatred of 3D. Well let be tell you this, if you are planning to see Pixar’s new movie, Brave, make sure it is not the glasses wearing version because if you do, you will be greying out one of the most beautiful looking films of the year. Not that the 3D will enhance you experience of this terrific film. It won’t. But you will miss out on the depth of colour and incredible detail of this deliciously cheek film.
Scotland. And a king, Fergus, with a greivance for bears, especially the one who bit off his leg, rules his land in a very relaxed manner. His wife, Queen Elinor, is more of a traditionalist and wants her wayward, tomboy daughter, Merida, to wed a suitor from one of the three local clans. Merida, however, is a head-strong young lady and wants to choose her own destiny, so after proving what a great shot she is with a bow and arrow, heads into the forest where she discovers an old woman who can offer her a potion. Merida wants her mother to change and so is willing to give her a tonic that will change her for all the wrong reasons.
The star of this terrific mixture of comedy, adventure and fairy tale is the hair. Merida’s hair is beyond brilliant. The detail that the animators have put into her long, flowing red locks are mind-blowing. Along with the lush scenery of the Scottish High land, this is a triumph of animation from a studio that are constantly pushing the boundaries. If you were in awe with how they managed to capture the world under the sea in Finding Nemo, then the forests, mountains and waterfalls that grace the screen he are enough to make you long for the shores of Scotland.
The story of the lucky young princess is littered with surprises, none more so than in the humour. Sometimes incredibly cheek (in a literal sense too), there’s plenty for a more mature audience to enjoy while the kids have enough slapstick to keep them happy. The inclusion of Merida’s mischievous brothers with a hunger for cakes are aimed at the kids, while the adults will take joy in the surreal flights of fancy.
Once again, Pixar have picked the creme of the acting world to supply the voices. Kelly MacDonald is perfectly suited as the strong-minded lead, with her authentic Scottish accent. Billy Connelly is hilarious as her bear-hating father while Emma Thomson adds an air of authority as her mother. There’s a brief vocal appearance from Julie Waters too, as the witch who causes all the problems.
If there is a downside, (and sadly its quite a big downside) it’s the unevenness of the story. Flipping from standard adventure to extreme fairy tale with a massive splash of sentiment, it always feels as if with all the beauty and artistry involved in the creative department needed to have a story that was fitting to compliment the art work. Alas the writing department have tried too hard and have lost their way a little.With most films, this would make it a film to avoid but the pure majesty of the piece makes for an irresistibly entertaining film that may not be as great as, say Up or the Toy Story films but is a vast improvement on the disappointing Cars 2. (And get there early for a delightfully sweet short, La Luna).