Michael Douglas and Matt Damon wow the Cannes film fest as Liberace and lover.
Release date: 13th August
Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson
Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
What's the story? Pocket-sized princess Merida (voiced by Macdonald) lives a tomboyish life in medieval Scotland - until her parents try to marry her off. Angry, Merida messes with magic and must undo a curse on her mother.
What did we think? The characters are appealing and fun to watch - Merida's playful ginger curls bounce off the screen in 3D. The story's merely fine, though, and the laughs never as big as you'd hope from a Disney-Pixar production.
It's refreshing to see Disney producing a truly feisty female heroine - one who doesn't need a prince to rescue her. Quite the opposite, in fact: in one of the film's most suspenseful scenes, Merida watches an archery contest in which the winner will gain her hand in marriage - before entering the contest in a bid to win her own hand.
It's a modern spin on what's in many ways an old-fashioned tale. From witches lurking in the woods to local legends about giant beasties, Brave is steeped in old-school myth, making it an odd fit for a current-day animation. It's not based on an existing fairytale but has a definite Brothers Grimm flavour: some of the plot turns are quite dark for a family film.
As Merida's stubborn bid for independence gets her into serious hot water, the plot shifts to focus on the relationship between Merida and her mother (Thompson). Essentially, this is a story about a child learning to respect her parent's responsibilities and a parent loosening up a little bit - nothing particularly new there. But it's done with sincerity and a playful wit - while Brave won't have them rolling in the aisles, it has enough giggles to see you through. Merida's naughty triplet brothers are a highlight, as is her well-meaning, clumsy father (Connolly), who loves to boast about his legendary run-in with a terrifying bear.
Verdict: While not particularly compelling this is still an enjoyable family animation with funny moments.
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