DIRECTOR: Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
CAST: Voices of Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Julie Walters and Emma Thompson
CLASSIFICATION: 10 MV
RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes
AS Box office numbers favour the brave, fortune is sure to come after Pixar’s first heroine hits the big screen in SA today.
It’s already been lauded all over the world for having a princess who, for once, isn’t going to be saved by a knight in shining armour and does not have beautiful blonde hair.
It has also caused quite a stir in the industry for being the first film to use the Dolby Atmos sound format, which I’m sure is great for the 25 selected cinemas around the globe that got to test it out (but not where this preview was screened).
What it should be applauded for is the uncanny degree of realism that Disney Pixar’s animation has achieved.
From the wavy garish red locks of a young Princess Merida (Macdonald) to the fur on a bear, the artistry is in the detail here.
And there is also art in Merida’s motives it seems.
Let me fill you in. It is 10th- century Scotland and King Fergus (Connolly) is an easygoing but tough-as-nails ruler.
He is not as tough as his wife, the elegant Queen Elinor (Thompson), though. It seems she’s the one who wears the kilt in the kingdom.
Their eldest child is Princess Merida, a redhead with a temper that matches her hair.
She’s carefree, unlady-like and helps her triplet toddler brothers get up to mischief.
Oh, and she’s one bad mamma jamma when it comes to archery.
Her father gave her a bow and arrow shortly before he lost a leg to a bear.
(Her father longs to settle the score with the bear.)
Merida’s archery comes in handy when her mother forces her to sit through the customary challenges potential suitors must accomplish if they hope to win a princess’ hand.
But Merida is convinced she is too young for betrothal and wants no part in her mother’s mission to fit a square into a circle.
With the help of a dodgy witch, Merida leaves the highlands to find an awful piece of cake and casts a spell on her mother to make her change.
But instead of her mind or her attitude, Elinor changes form – from Queen of the Castle into a clumsy bear. Eek.
Merida has only two days to reverse the spell, and in those two days everything that could possibly go wrong does.
To find out if she succeeds in her goal and if everyone lives happily ever after, you’ll have to watch it yourself.
The kids who were in the cinema (all of them younger than 10, I think) thoroughly enjoyed themselves and laughed out loud at the visual comedy.
Some elements of the story do require a slightly more mature audience – such as the scene in which a family dispute ends in a sword being drawn.
The violence by the bears may also be something to consider if you have young children.
Also, black magic is not treated with kid gloves. A child speaking to inanimate objects and casting a spell on her mother can be quite a disturbing thing to ponder.
The antics of the king’s slow men and the triplets’ terrorising of the maid are good distractions.
Patrick Doyle’s Celtic pop soundtrack in parts sounds pretty cool if you imagine Justin Bieber in a kilt. The soundtrack includes a joint effort by Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis and Mumford and Sons.
If you liked… The Princess and The Frog or even The Hunger Games… you may like this.