As part of our annual trip to Scotland to see my parents it seemed only fitting that we take mini-me to see Brave, so armed with two Orange phones we headed over to the Cineworld in Dundee for some entertainment.


Unlike some animated films where the storyline is often based on a purely circumstantial event, such as being on someone’s doorstep when the house happens to fly away, Brave has some strong themes which almost anyone can relate to. Granted you won’t be having debates about the symbolism in the film like some have with Prometheus but that isn’t to say it doesn’t try to remind you of lessons you learn as a youth, the folly of assumption, the fact you are never too old to make a mistake or that sometimes traditions and habits should be challenged. This is all brought out through some tasteful and nicely covert as well as overt characterisation, all of which is supported brilliantly by there never truly being a “bad guy” in the entire storyline.


This was easily my favourite element of the film, the cast is wide, varied and full of some great talent. Anyone who has watched comedy in the UK over the last couple of decades will be familiar with the voice of Billy Connolly, but some may be surprised to realise Emma Thompson plays Elinor. Throw in Julie Walters and Robbie Coltrane, who aren’t instantly recognisable from their voices alone which shows some vocal talent, and you have a very strong cast already. That however is the backdrop for Kelly MacDonald, who broke into the global cinema scene in Trainspotting. She really gave Merida something in terms of passion and personality which was so important for this film since she is utterly pivotal. Though I have to give a little shout out for Callum O’Neill for having by far the funniest character, even if unintelligble …

Visuals & Effects

Being partly raised in Scotland the landscape and variety of characters in terms of appearance felt natural to me, I’m not sure how well it conveys to the international audience but it is impossible to avoid the stereotypes of bare cheeked kilted men (or not when they need to be!) The quality of production is of course superb, Pixar have made a fine art of producing animated films which are strong and smooth so that you soon forget you are watching something computer generated.


With suitably epic background music for those montage scenes and a well mastered sound stage in the castle, if you’re careful you can hear little echoing conversations as you might in a large stone building, it is hard to fault the soundtrack of Brave. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars is because simply it didn’t make me think “Oh, I need to get that track” like I did with Tron Legacy for instance.


This is precisely the sort of family film which suits all generations, from little ones to grandparents alike. Thoroughly enjoyable and one I would recommend to anyone looking for some light humour and a wee tale to tell.