Director: Mark Andrews
Nominated for: Best Animated Feature Film
It’s certainly not a surprise that the latest offering from the Disney Pixar studio is one of the nominees for the Best Animated Feature Film in this years Oscars seeing as they are still considered to be the cream of the crop in the animation field. What makes Disney Pixar the stand out studio for animation is the combination of excellent technical abilities and moving, magical stories for the whole family, something some of the other animation studios still don’t have in quite the same way. The animation is once again exceptional with the wisps being particularly good as non-corporeal elements have previously been notoriously difficult to create with any sense of weight of believability.
Being half Scottish this film made me chuckle at the stereotypes being lovingly portrayed – you have every type of Scots man you can have represented in the four clans; the painted faces like those seen in Braveheart; a Glaswegian who’s almost incomprehensible. The bickering between the four clans provides much of the humor of the film. There are some really interesting angles used throughout the film but especially during the Games, (held to win the hand of Princess Merida) which have all the classics … tossing the caber, hay-bale toss and so on.
Everything quintessentially Scottish is included like highland cows wandering around, people playing bagpipes and of course everyone is wandering around wearing kilts. One of my favourite scenes, where I roared with laughter, that sees the clansmen shimmying down the tower has kilts playing an integral part to it. And was somewhat of a shock – you just don’t expect to see bottoms in a Disney Pixar movie!
Billy Connelly is epic as the burly king – his voice is perfect for that character! Princess Merida, voiced by Kelly Macdonald, is awesome! She’s so headstrong and sure of herself, totally unsuited to being a princess and yet at the same time perfectly suited to be the future Queen of the bickering four clans of Scotland. I love her hair, a shock of ginger hair which is the perfect visual representation of her fiery nature. Plus she’s an archer and archers have come back in a big way in the last 12 months of movies with characters like Katniss (The Hunger Games, Gary Ross), Hawk Eye (Avengers Assemble, Joss Whedon) and Kili in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Peter Jackson) all deftly mastering this difficult skill (and of course there was the Olympics which also raised the profile of Archery!)
It’s a lovely story – one that is ultimately about the relationship between mother and daughter. It just takes one of them changing into a bear for them to finally understand one another. The characterization of the Queen once she’s been transformed into a bear is spectacular, but then Disney excels at anthropomorphizing animal characters.
I really enjoyed Brave. I will always love films that come out of the Disney Pixar studio no matter how old I get and that I think is the root of their success. They are creating films that move beyond childhood and yet remind you of it at the same time.