Fun for all your clan! Pixar heads to the Highlands for an adventure that will charm children AND their parents
08:35 GMT, 10 August 2012
BRAVE 3D (PG)
As if Andy Murray trouncing Roger Federer to win Olympic gold wasn’t enough, here’s another sight to bring a tear to the eyes of Scots everywhere.
Brave is — as its name suggests — no cowering, timorous beastie. It is genuinely brave for departing from the Pixar norm. This is a simpler, more childlike picture than we are used to from the world’s leading animation company, but none the worse for that.
Instead of narrative complexity, we get visual beauty, with the Scottish Highlands depicted in ravishing colour and depth.
Feisty: Merida wants to focus on her tomboy skills instead of romance
Though director Mark Andrews and executive producer John Lasseter are American, they both love visiting Scotland. It shows. The Scottish tourist board will be delighted.
The story is essentially Mulan — the Nineties Disney film — with kilts. Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson at her most imperious) wants her impetuous, red-headed daughter, Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald) to marry one of three local princes, all of them insufferable.
Merida, however, wishes to live the outdoor life of a tomboy with archery skills.
Girl power: The charming tale is full of fun and adventure
Her spectacular hair resembles that of a youthful Rebekah Brooks but her personality reminds me of Team GB’s double gold medallist cyclist Laura Trott: fearlessly feisty and touchingly young.
Merida rides off into the woods, where she meets a suspiciously ingratiating witch (Julie Walters). Merida begs for a spell that will change her mother’s mind.
But, as clearly our heroine has not read the Which Guide To Witches, the spell does an awful lot more than that.
How can it be reversed Both mother and daughter have to compromise, and the story is at its sweetest and most original when it asks for mothers and daughters to see each other’s point of view.
The film is funniest when the ladylike Queen is being taken over by the malicious spell, a process that is brilliantly and subtly animated.
Brave may not rank up there with the most ingenious Pixar productions — The Incredibles and the Toy Story trilogy — but it’s charming, child-friendly and entertaining, whatever your age.