DVD Review: Brave

Review by Toby Lattimore

Brave (PG)

When a highly successful brand such as Pixar produces a film it has a lot to stand up against. Toy Story and the Incredibles loom large over any forthcoming productions and Brave has its work cut out but it certainly has a great start with the awe-inspiring back drop of a rugged Scotland.

Merida is a Scottish Princess who has a duty to follow but has decided that she doesn’t want to wed any of her hopeless suitors. This classic storyline is turned on its head though when she stumbles into the open arms of an ancient curse and we are drawn into the chase to save her loved ones. This lead character is voiced by the versatile and excellent Kelly Macdonald who has featured in a range of films including No Country for Old Men, Nanny McPhee and Trainspotting. She is thankfully Scottish and her rich voice and talent shine through.

Merida’s giant of a father is played by jovial Billy Connolly and her mother by Emma Thompson who on the face of it struggles to fit into the earthy selection of voices, although her character, the disappointed mother, is arguably meant to be one of the conflicting aspects of the storyline. She fails to charm. The local Lords, played by Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd and Craig Ferguson who come to present their sons to claim Merida’s hand in marriage are, through no fault of the actors, poorly developed and overly comical but the witch, who is voiced by Julie Walters, suitably adds magic to the plot.

A clever aspect which makes Brave very relevant for today’s market, and perhaps the strength of the film, is the story that lies just under the surface. Aside from her role as Princess, Merida is an independent young woman. She wants to be different, break with tradition and prove her skills rather than be subjugated by her father and forced into a stereotypical role. For all those young girls out there she is a rebel hero, and something to aspire to. Brave proves to be a great yarn, with action, humour and terror but, when there is no male lead in the film, it does appear to want to exclude boys from the viewing figures.


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