Starring Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson.
Directed by Brenda Chapman.
Classification: PG (Some scary scenes), 115 mins.
Official Site: http://disney.go.com/brave/#/home
Brave is set in the mystical Scottish Highlands, where Mérida is the princess of a kingdom ruled by King Fergus and Queen Elinor. An unruly daughter and an accomplished archer, Mérida one day defies a sacred custom of the land and inadvertently brings turmoil to the kingdom. In an attempt to set things right, Mérida seeks out an eccentric old Wise Woman and is granted an ill-fated wish. Also figuring into Mérida’s quest — and serving as comic relief — are the kingdom’s three lords: the enormous Lord MacGuffin, the surly Lord Macintosh, and the disagreeable Lord Dingwall.
Pixar's 13th film, which follows an adventurous Scottish princess, is visually stunning and strongly voiced, but doesn't take any real risks and is set in that version of the past forever favored by Disney, that of princesses, kings, queens, witches, evil spells and prankish secondary characters. After a beautiful and eventful prologue in which flaming-maned Scottish princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald) receives an archery bow for her birthday, glimpses blue will-o'-the-wisps floating through the forest and sees her father, King Fergus (Billy Connolly), lose a leg to a ferocious bear, the action jumps ahead to her adolescence and her obligation to get married.Under the strict tutelage of loving but demanding mother Elinor (Emma Thomson), Merida has learned the necessities but is a wild lass at heart, desperate for her days off when she can ride off on horseback and perfect her archery. As for marriage, nothing could be less appealing: “I don't want my life to be over,” she rails to her mother. “I want my freedom.”On a sensory level, however, BRAVE is almost entirely a delight. The wild beauty of Scotland, of the verdant forests and the craggy peaks, is lovingly rendered with a gorgeous palette of painterly colors. Working in pronounced Scottish accents that, to be sure, don't approach the often undecipherable ones heard in Ken Loach films, Scottish actors Macdonald and Connolly are a joy to listen to, as is Thompson. Unfortunately, BRAVE is a film that starts off big and promising but diminishes into a rather wee thing as it chugs along. Younger kids won't mind, but many viewers accustomed to relying upon Pixar for something special will feel a sense of letdown due to the lack of adventurousness. [EDITED]
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