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Review: Brave

Animated perfectly and with a beautiful soundtrack, Pixar’s latest endeavour, Brave, could have been as great as the likes of Toy Story or Finding Nemo. It has almost everything a Pixar film is famous for and even attempts to provide Disney with a new, stronger type of princess. However, as the story progresses, Brave does not deliver the brilliance that audiences have come to expect from Pixar.

The heroine, a feisty, red headed teenager called Merida, princess of a Scottish kingdom, fights to break her betrothal and remain free and adventurous, whilst retaining a strong relationship with her mother, the Queen. The film follows Merida as she uses all of her knowledge and skill gained from her adventures to reverse a curse upon her family.

The setting of 10th century Scotland, surrounded by myth, legend and magic initially gives promise for the film to become first class, however, the plot becomes somewhat silly and even slightly boring in parts. At first, some aspects appear exciting and stimulating for the audience, but they are quickly left behind as the story moves on. The plot is acceptable but it did not excel in true Pixar style. The much loved, previously universal humour is sparse, as though Pixar no longer believes that animation is for adults.

It’s business as usual with the animation; Pixar cannot be commended enough. It is clear to see why the Scottish tourist boards have been so excited about this recent release. The animators have truly captured the beauty of Scotland’s magnificent landscapes, so far that it is sometimes difficult to believe that the images are not photographs. It can easily be predicted that, from seeing Brave, tourists will flock to the country to experience its landmarks and heritage. Lakes and mountains, waterfalls and castles all appear sharp and spectacular as Merida’s adventures develop.

Brave’s casting and acting is another aspect of the production that excels. Julie Walters and Robbie Coltrane provide excellent voices for their characters alongside Billy Connelly and Emma Thompson, who play Princess Merida’s parents. Most characters are presented flawlessly and partly redeem the lacking story.

On top of the excellent casting is the brilliant soundtrack, which seems to perfectly capture the essence of the film and of Scotland. Scottish singe, Julie Fowlis provides two wonderful songs, including ‘Touch the Sky’, which supports Brave’s themes of myth, with its own Gaelic twist of tradition. The score, by Patrick Doyle, continues to enhance these themes of folklore, as does a contribution from Mumford and Sons.

Brave is an enjoyable film thanks to its lovely soundtrack, perfect casting and exceptional animation. It had the real potential to become something great but it is the plot lets the film down. Pixar have just missed the mark.

20/08/2012

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