Brave – Teen Tantrums and Bears Never Looked So Good.

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Brave? – You betcha. I took 5 kids to the cinema to see this holiday film. Luckily what they say about fortune favouring the brave was true. My charges were all perfect gems, except for one who needed a toilet break right in the middle of the climactic fight scene. Oh well – I think I could guess the outcome.

This movie has received some criticism for not being quite on parr with some of Pixar’s other recent offerings like the wonderful Toy Story series.  Some critics have even moaned about the heroine  not being ” feminist” enough. (WTF?). To those folk I say quit intellectualising and go with the flow. Brave is a spectacularly beautiful film. I was impressed with Ice Age’s graphics but Pixar totally trumps it. The medieval Scotland portrayed in Brave is an enchanting world.  From the opening scenes showing glorious, almost photo realistic vistas of the wild and mystical highlands I was completely drawn in.

Up in the misty Highlands

You can’t have a kids film without an over-arching moral theme and this one is about the need to be true to yourself and follow your own dreams yada, yada, yada versus one’s responsibilities to the “clan”. Its also about healing the rift that all too often comes between mother and daughter.

We are introduced to Princess Merida of Clan Dunbroch a feisty, red headed tomboy with a mop of curls that leave Nicole Kidman’s for dead. Growing up Merida resents being trained in the “Princess arts” by her perfectionist mother Queen Elinor. Instead she  preferring riding through the wilderness wielding her bow and arrows. Merida’s exasperation boils over when the Queen makes a shock announcement. There will soon be a gathering of the clans so that the princes may compete for Merida’s hand in marriage. Merida has one hell of a teen tantrum about this but her mother implores her to do princessly duty as a marriage between the clans will help keep peace throughout the kingdom. Neither can see the others point of view.

Oh Gawd Mum!

Merida’s willfulness wins out in dramatic style. Exploiting a loophole in tradition she competes for her own hand and naturally decimates her potential suitors with her archery skills. Fleeing into the woods, she is lead conveniently by the will-‘o-the wisps into a witches lair. There she successfully procures a spell that will “change her mother” and hence “change her fate” forgetting to specify exactly how she wants her mother changed. Its a case of “be careful what you wish for” because Queen Elinor is transformed into an enormous, menancing bear! As with most fairy tale spells however, there is an escape clause. Merida is given the riddle – “Fate be changed, look inside.  Mend the bond torn by pride.”

So you think your Mum is Unbearable…

Mother and daughter reach a greater understanding and appreciation for each other as they work together to solve this riddle and stay safe from the chaos breaking out around them. Merida finally submits to her responsibilities and agrees to be married off for the greater good of the clan.  Yet the Queen absolves her of this burden and decrees that clan royalty should be able to marry for love. After a bit more dramatic bear chasing and fighting, everyones fate is altered for the better. We all learn that we can be the masters of our own destiny if we are “brave” enough to follow our hearts. Cheers to that!

Mumabulous Verdict – 8/10.

CG is just getting better and better and this film is worth the price of admission for its gorgeous look alone. I also found it refreshing to see a princess film that was built on themes other than love and romance. If I have any criticism, its that the movie was light on humour. Meridas triplet brothers provide some comic relief and there are the obligatory jokes about what’s under a Scotts man’s kilt. Nevertheless I chortled more through Ice Age 4.

Comic relief

P1’s Verdict

Ice Age was a gwreat one but that was gwreat too!

P2’s Verdict

That’s Merida. That’s silly.

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