Directed by Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman, Co-Directed by Steve Purcell
Written by Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell & Irene Mecchi
Starring Kelly MacDonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly and Julie Walters
Released 17th August 2012 (Ireland)
Brave is a Pixar movie which does not feature anthropomorphic cars re-enacting the exact plot of Doc Hollywood. Go see it.
What, you need more than that? That’s some pretty compelling reasoning up there. Did you read the part about no talking cars?
Set in ancient Scotland, Brave follows the story of the Princess Merida (voiced by Boardwalk Empire’s Kelly MacDonald), Pixar’s first female lead protagonist. Strong-willed, hot-blooded and frankly awesome, Merida wants nothing more than to ride around the kingdom on horseback, shooting arrows at stuff and climbing big rocks. This is to the delight of her father, the warrior King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and the exasperation of her mother, the very proper and ladylike Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson).
All is well until the inevitable day when suitors come calling on the hand of Princess Merida, looking to fulfil a promise that she would be marry the a prince of one of the three other kingdoms in order to keep the peace of the land. The trouble being that Merida doesn’t want to marry anyone just yet, perhaps not ever and certainly not a stranger.
So begins a tale of subterfuge, trickery and magic as Merida must fight for her freedom, her mother’s understanding and even the fate of the kingdom itself.
Brave is of course gorgeously animated, with Merida’s flowing red curls alone probably deserving of some kind of animation award. The Scottish countryside is lush, sparkling and beautiful or deep, gloomy and threatening in turn.
If there is one criticism I can make it’s that the 3D simply does not hold up. It’s a generally accepted rule even among detractors of 3D (of which I am not one) that CG animation is the best medium for the effect. However 3D in any form simply does not work in dark or night-time scenes, a fact which filmmakers seem oddly slow to pick up on, with the perhaps ironic exception of Michael Bay. Though given the long gestation period of CG animation perhaps this isn’t so surprising in this case. Unfortunately for 3D fans Brave has many of these dark scenes, so as a 3D experience it’s something of a failure.
In summation: go see Brave, but in 2D if you can.
8/10 (9 if you see it 2D)