"Brave will no doubt do wonders for the Scottish tourist board. As it will for red hair dye..."
It's got to a point now where as soon as you see that little white lamp jump up and down on the letter 'I', everything is going to be okay, and with Pixar's latest animation Brave, as always, everything is.
Set in a mythical Scottish highlands, Kelly Macdonald voices Merida, an impetuous young Princess, hoping to mould her own path in life amidst the pressure placed on her shoulders by her demanding mother Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). As Elinor prepares her daughter for a traditional arranged marriage, Merida decides enough is enough and flees the castle, only to find herself in the presence of a Witch (Julie Walters), who decides to cast the tearaway one magic spell.
Merida asks for mother to be changed, and when she returns home and offers her a spell-ridden cupcake, Elinor does indeed proceed to change, except unfortunately for Meirda, it's into a wild bear. Suddenly Merida regrets her wish and desperately intends to search for the witch in order to reverse the spell, despite the fact such circumstances may just prove to be the remedy Merida and Elinor need to patch up their damaged relationship. However the sooner they can undo the spell the better, as not only does the spell become permanent upon the second sunrise, but King Fergus (Billy Connolly), although frantically missing his wife since her disappearance, just so happens to be a renowned bear hunter...
Brave is certainly a victim of Disneyfication (if that isn't a word yet, it should be), as a picture that doesn't have that same appeal to an adult audience that often comes in Pixar productions. Often I leave a Pixar film wondering if kids will actually enjoy it as it's so adult-orientated, yet in this, it's the other way round, as it's difficult to tell whether parents will savour this as much as their kids will. However, despite being aimed at a younger audience, this certainly didn't prevent my enjoyment of this feature, nor the inevitable shedding of a tear or two.
So yes, this may be Disneyfied (not sure if that's a word either), but since when was that necessarily a bad thing? Influences from classic movies such as The Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella are rife within this film, and the morals, all be it for a younger audience, remain just as poignant. There is more of a family-inclined element to his picture given the story line and this should resonate with the majority of youngsters who spend much of their time claiming that life is "so unfair". Effectively, this is Kevin and Perry for kids.
However there remains a wonderful backbone to this story, in an earnest and believable mother-daughter relationship that is sincerely depicted. Merida - the first lead role in a Pixar movie that has been a female - works as a wonderful role model for children also, as a hard-nosed and fierce character who has a good heart.
The animation is also brilliant within this title, further enhancing the fact that computer-animated productions have come a long way, and this may just be the most impressive yet. The Scottish landscapes look beautiful as a backdrop, and the 3D, dare I say it, is used to great effect. Brave will no doubt do wonders for the Scottish tourist board. As it will for red hair dye.
Brave may not be on par with the majority of Pixar films, and it is arguably one of their weaker showings. Yet such a statement doesn't account for much, because the standard has been set so incredibly high and this remains a really enjoyable movie. But where next for Pixar? They've done toys, insects, monsters, cars, fish, robots and now Scots. Where on earth do they go now?