movie film review | chris tookey


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  Brave Review
Tookey's Rating
8 /10
Average Rating
5.97 /10
Voices: Kelly Macdonald , Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson
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Directed by: Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell
Written by: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell, Irene Mecchi

Released: 2012
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Length: 110

As if Andy Murray beating Roger Federer to win Olympic gold wasn’t enough, here’s another sight to bring a tear to the eye of Scots everywhere.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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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 seeing 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. Though American, both director John Andrews and executive producer John Lasseter love visiting Scotland. It shows. The Scottish Tourist Board will be delighted.

The story is essentially Mulan with kilts. Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson at her most imperious) wants her impetuous, redheaded daughter, Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald) to marry one of three local princes, all of them insufferable. But Merida wishes to live the outdoor life of a tomboy with archery skills.

Her spectacular hair resembles that of a youthful Rebekah Brooks, but her personality reminded me of medal-winning cyclist Laura Trott: fearlessly feisty and touchingly young. She could easily have been just another annoying teenager, but Kelly MacDonald gives her delightful pluck and energy.

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 hitherto ladylike Queen is being taken over by the malicious spell, a process that is brilliantly and subtly animated. Merida's naughty younger brothers are a hoot as well.

Brave may not rank up there with the most ingenious Pixar productions – such as The Incredibles and the Toy Story trilogy – but it’s charming, child-friendly and entertaining, whatever your age.

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