FILM REVIEW: Brave
As creative departures go, Brave lives up to its title.
Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
Cast: Kelly MacDonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane (voices)
The guys at Pixar have fables down pat: since 1995 they've told stories of ageing toys who fear the scrapheap, a rat who dreams of becoming a chef, and a fish who crosses oceans to find his son.
The studio's new film is less a fable than a folk tale, and it stands apart from all of their previous work.
Its heroine Merida - a gutsy young royal whose sheepy tangle of tousled red curls is as untameable as her spirit - is no typical Disney princess either.
Brave is set in a Scotland of the mythic past, where castles hide age-old secrets. Merida (voiced by MacDonald) has come of age, and her parents, King Fergus ( Connolly) and Queen Elinor ( Thompson) stage a grand tournament to find her a husband.
Never mind that she's handier with a bow and arrow than any man: fulfilling her wifely destiny is non-negotiable. After an argument with her mother Merida flees into the forest, where an elderly woman offers her a cake that will "make the Queen change".
Merida takes the cake to the castle and gives it to the Queen as a peace offering, triggering a curse both daughter and mother - in her considerably shaggier new form - must work together to dispel.
Variations on this tale can be found in Scottish, Italian and eastern European folklore, and Brave makes no attempt to update it.
Brave's setting and plot are in perfect harmony; the lush glens and iron mountains amplifying the story that plays out across them.
It's great on detail, too: a running gag about thick Scots' accents avoids cliche by throwing a lone Doric speaker, the heir of the Clan MacGuffin (voiced by Kevin McKidd) in among the perplexed Highlanders.
'Brave' opens at cinemas today
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While in his teens, Donny (Adam Sandler) fathered a son. Years later he must deal with this. - ©The Daily Telegraph and Staff reporter