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Friday, August 10, 2012
Pixar films often don’t initially sound like good ideas but invariably prove to be magical. Occasionally though they make a film that is stunningly executed and wholly enjoyable but still doesn’t quite convince that it was an idea worth doing.
I’d suggest that Brave, the tale of a Scottish princess with Rebekah Brooks hair, joins Ratatouille in that category.
The computer-generated animation is, of course, immaculate. As the camera sweeps across the lochs and highlands, the audience may speculate about how long it will be before we won’t be able to tell the difference between animated films and live action films.
The answer perhaps is when they learn how to do humans as expressively and realistically as they do everything else. The long red locks are eerily real but comparatively the human characters look a bit like spoonfaces in a Constable landscape.
The tale is less much junior Braveheart than the early trailers suggested. The spirited young Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) rebels against both her mother (Emma Thompson, playing the Julie Andrews role) and the prospect of being married to whichever one of the sons of the other clans wins her hand in the games.
Normally such a rebellious stance would be applauded but the film cautiously suggests that sometimes you have to sacrifice your own happiness for the greater good.
That’s an interesting slant but overall the story, which borrows ideas from traditional fairytales, isn’t particularly compelling.
Watching it you sense that the film’s initial spark was a desire to make a film set in this period and a story was then rustled up to fit.
After the disappointment of Cars 2, this is much more like it. It is funny and energetic and girls will like a film with a strong heroine and no Prince Charming.
It is probably aimed at kids a year or two older than the traditional Pixar fare, though a packed Sunday morning auditorium got through it with very few tears or signs of boredom.
The film has already been released north of the border. The Scots are always keen to jump on any Hollywood film that panders to a sense of their specialness. The SNP though may not be too thrilled at a film where security and prosperity is best secured through the unity of four clans and a desire to be independent and breakaway from tradition almost causes disaster.
Directors: Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
Featuring the voices of Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connelly, Emma Thompson, Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters and Craig Ferguson
Length: 107 mins