Film review: Brave (4 out of 5 stars)

Merida (Kelly Macdonald) in Brave.
Merida (Kelly Macdonald) in Brave.

Director: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman

PG (100mins)

Starring: (voices) Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly

The good thing about Pixar is that the company is prepared to take some risks. Animated films about a futuristic robot (WALL-E) and an old man whose house floats away (Up) were slightly left field - but highly successful.

Sometimes it doesn’t work quite as well, though (eg Cars 2, Ratatouille).

However, Brave will sit proudly among those that hit the button.

It’s one of those rare movies that both young children and older generations can enjoy, with a good mix of slapstick comedy, cute characters, tugs on the emotions and subtle funny remarks.

Set in ancient Scotland, the story revolves around a young princess Merida (Macdonald), who enjoys going out riding and archery more than learning how to be a queen-in-waiting.

Her life hits a crisis when her mother (Thompson) and father (Connolly) invite the other clans to submit a suitor.

That’s only the first few minutes of the film but any more plot would involve spoilers.

It’s enough to say there’s a ferocious bear, a witch (superbly voiced by Julie Walters) and a close look at the mother/daughter relationship.

It’s shot in 3D which does make it more atmospheric in some scenes, such as in the depths of the wood.

But the quality of the animation is simply breath-taking.

The production team toured round Scotland to get a decent feel for the country and there are some amazing shots.

It’s the time taken over the smaller details, though, that impress.

Merida’s flowing hair is life-like and an enormous amount of time must have been spent on getting the scenery just right.

Overall, it’s a great family movie that will entertain generations to come.

Steve Payne

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley