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By Jess Fenton
17th June 2012

If you’ve seen any of the trailers for the new Disney Pixar animation ‘Brave’, you’re not mistaken in thinking that they don’t highlight the actual plot of the film, choosing to focus more of the film’s Scottish element and its heroine Merida - the reason being that um, the story isn’t very good. ‘Brave’s’ very safe and very unoriginal plot is more Disney and less Pixar - with princesses, mighty beasts and magic having never been a part of the Pixar world, choosing the imagination over fantasy any day.

Merida may be a Princess but is a tomboy at heart, relishing her freedom and days off from her lessons where she can ride freely through the countryside on her horse Angus and practice her archery. But Merida has a fast-approaching duty - a competition between the firstborns of the three clans of the empire for her hand in marriage, something Merida deems unfair and isn’t ready for, much to her mother’s chagrin. One day out in the forest, Merida spots the will ‘o the wisps - magical blue lights that show the way to your destiny. Following the wisps, Merida encounters a witch who grants her an ill-fated spell that turns her mother into a bear. Merida and her mother must work together to repair their relationship in order to reverse the spell before it becomes permanent.


For a story set up for high adventure by a restless, free spirited princess, it soon comes to a screeching halt and turns into something completely different - a 90210 episode about the perils of a mother daughter relationship when communication or lack thereof becomes the defining factor. Once the appearance of a witch is introduced, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t expecting a ‘Freaky Friday’ switcheroo.

‘Brave’ lacks that special something and innovation as well as Pixar’s signature wit and whimsy that we’ve come to love and expect from the filmmakers. While the movie doesn’t fault when it comes to the animation powerhouse’s visual prowess, ‘Brave’ doesn’t feature any scenes or one-liners guaranteed to turn this into a classic, or even a favourite among the studio’s strong catalogue of films.

‘Brave’ lacks that special something.

What bothers me most of all is the film’s use of words like "fate" and "destiny" when what it actually means is "obligation" and "responsibility" - very different things. While Pixar should be applauded for finally tackling a mother/daughter relationship, fans will not be totally disappointed but shouldn’t expect this to be the next step in the studio’s leap from strength to strength.

RELEASE DATE: 21/06/2012
RUN TIME: 1h 33m
CAST: Kelly Macdonald
Julie Walters
Billy Connolly
Emma Thompson
Kevin McKidd
Craig Ferguson
Robbie Coltrane
Peigi Barker
Steven Cree
Steve Purcell
DIRECTORS: Mark Andrews
Steve Purcell
Brenda Chapman
PRODUCER: Katherine Sarafian
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