Brave is the latest animation blockbuster from Disney/Pixar. I don’t as a rule like animation much, but in this case the obviously Scottish theme and all the hype made me give it a go. And a most entertaining and enjoyable evening it was too. We eschewed the 3D version as we are as yet unconvinced by its attractions. However the 2D version is lively enough for most people. We are immediately transported into a very green and visually stunning landscape that with its mountains and lochs is very Scottish, albeit of a rather rosy tinted variety. Then again this is a fairy tale for children. The film is also packed with action including some suitably scary moments involving man eating bears which should frighten the children – they did me!
Apart from the impressive animation sequences the strength of the film is the lively banter among the characters. Nearly all of whom are from a who’s who of Scottish thespians. I guess we can include Emma Thompson as Scottish for this purpose. Most of the voices are readily recognizable, though I did miss one or two. The only non Scot among the main characters is the wonderful Julie Walters and I will leave you to guess which character she voices. Apart from her, this is a very Scottish sounding film, with some braw Scots words and phrases thrown into the dialogue.
The storyline is not exactly Nobel prize winning material, but then children’s animations rarely are and it is the robustness of the characters that make the film. This is especially so with the male characters, who are all without exception, hideously ugly, gross and not too strong in the intelligence department. Brave presents us with a wonderfully outlandish and over the top stereotype of Scottish manhood. Thank god this is just a fairytale, or should that be a nightmare?
On the other hand the two main female characters are both presented as attractive, caring, quick witted, intelligent and brave. Especially the star of the show, the wee princess herself – the red haired, feisty and intrepid Merida, who is brought to life by the voice of Kelly MacDonald. The plot, for what it is worth, revolves around Merida, who in an act of proto feminism, decides to break free from convention and make her own destiny in the world. This is easier said than done and she gets mixed up in a bit of witchcraft which nearly proves to be her and her family’s downfall. As in al fairytales though, all ends well. Brave is well worth a visit to your local cinema for a bit of relaxing fun. 2D or 3D – the choice is yours.