Tuesday, 14 August 2012


I intended to write a post about seeing Brave in our local cinema last weekend. But I put it off and now another week has gone by and it seems I'm just now getting around to it. Please excuse my tardiness, and watch out, there may be spoilers ahead.

As I've probably mentioned before, we have a tiny little cinema. We normally get films weeks (or even months) after the bigger cinemas have had them, this is because they get the film reel first and then we get it when they're done (so in the past we've had films where bits have blipped out, sound quality hasn't been great or, in the case of the last Sherlock Holmes film, there's a strange clicking sound all the way through). Getting a film at roughly the same time as the rest of the country is a bit of a big deal so you can probably understand why I was determined to get tickets.

Living in Scotland, as soon as I heard about Brave I was a little bit excited. I'm a massive Disney Pixar film though of all the more recent offerings I've only seen a few in the cinema. I did get off to the mainland when Toy Story 3 came out so I could see it in 3D, but other than that, mostly it's on DVD when they come out.

Our little cinema had gone all out in the decoration. Normally we just have a poster for the upcoming film but this time there was a massive display, one of the women in costume as Merida and Brave bunting. It looked good, it's one of the little things that you miss out on when you don't get to go to big cinemas. They made a real effort and it looked really really good. From what I heard of the night before we went (the Friday night premier) the kids had a really good time (and the adults did too).

Of course it wouldn't be a Disney Pixar movie without the short before hand. This one did not disappoint, it was a lovely little movie called 'La Luna'. It featured a little boy, out in a boat called La Luna with his father and grandfather and apparently learning the family trade.

The clue to their profession is in the name of the boat. They're cleaners, but of a different sort. The little boy is trying to copy both of the older men, but in true Disney fashion, he finds his own way to work.

And then there's Brave itself. I. LOVED. It. It felt like a really Disney-ish film, I felt more Disney than Pixar in this one. It was in the same sort of vein as the original Disney Princess films; Beauty and the Beast is my favourite Disney film, but I think Merida may be in a position to challenge Belle (Belle's got the fantastic library but Merida has a bow and arrow).

Merida is a Scottish Princess, as a young child her father gives her a bow and arrow and she grows up into an independent young woman who wants nothing more than to decide her own destiny. Perfect, except her mother has already pretty much got her destiny mapped out for her; she's a princess and must marry the firstborn son of one of the neighbouring clans. Merida is not particularly impressed by this.

After running away she meets a witch and buys a spell. And being a Disney movie, this obviously backfires for her. Resulting in her mother becoming a bear (therein lies the original movie title: The Bow and the Bear). Unfortunately for Queen Elinor, Merida's father lost his leg to a bear when Merida was a small child and so King Fergus isn't particularly fond of them. Merida and her mother undergo a bit of a journey, learning to appreciate each other and see things through the other's eyes, before the magic spell can be undone.

The plot was a little bit obvious, I could see what was going to happen before it happened, but that didn't spoil it for me. In fact, at one point it reminded me of Shrek (the Witch blatantly lives in Shrek's house and has been taking lessons from the Fairy Godmother). The story, while a little bit predictable, is good and follows the familiar Disney pattern - it's all about being true to yourself and others.

I was pleased that there were so many Scottish voices in this film. It would have been so easy for Disney to go the route of having non-Scottish actors attempting Scottish accents. Sitting in a cinema in Scotland, it sounded so natural. I love that Kelly Macdonald voices Merida. She's an excellent actress and I think she really brought Merida to life.

There was a lot of play on typical Scottish stereotypes. Honestly, to begin with I was a little worried that it would sort of fall flat when it played in Scotland, but it didn't. There was the classic Scotsmen-don't-wear-anything-under-their-kilts; there was a guy speaking Dorric who comes out with a great unintelligible babble and ends it with 'ken?'; the queen instructs Merida, telling her that 'a princess disnae...' do whatever it is that Merida is doing at that time.

As good as the film is, it's made by the music and scenery. That's what brings the feel of Scotland to life in the film. When we walked Tara that evening through the estate we were surrounded by the trees and foliage that we'd seen in the film. It probably sounds funny, but they'd got the lighting just right; it looked just the way it looks in real life. And then there was the music too. They played the soundtrack before the film started and I'm going to have to get a copy of that for myself.

So, to sum up. It's a brilliant film, go and see it. I'm really looking forward to it coming out on blu-ray because I can't wait to see it again.


  1. Aww brilliant review Cait! Once again it's so nice to read such an idyllic snapshot of your life up there :)

    1. Glad you enjoyed the review. It's definitely the best film I've seen in a while. :-D Hope you don't have to wait too long to see it.


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