By Christopher Parkhill
Pixar are currently notching up one film a year, and we've come to expect the exceptional (if we don't mention Cars 2 then it didn't happen). Brave continues this cycle, with pacey plot and a masterful balance of silliness and sincerity, in a particularly Disneyesque manner.
Daring Scottish princess of yore Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is driven to extremes in a war of will with her mother (Emma Thompson) in a
quest to pursue her own destiny. A fateful encounter with a witch brings a mess only she can fix, although the resulting story could be surmised 'brave girl is brave, continues being brave. Brave!'
In contrast, the parental warning 'accept your children or they'll destroy everything you ever loved' gives the film a sobering focus. Scenery and dialogue both achieve a pleasing measure of twee charm (“that sclaffy witch gave me a gammy spell”), although such 'folkiness' seems to leave less room for quick-fire wit. Shoehorning of key details renders the plot inevitable, yet constant challenges and a sensational cast including Billy Connolly and Robbie Coltrane ensures 100 minutes of great value.