Sunday, August 26. 2012
Brave is essentially a new fairy story, set in Scotland. They let, possibly with some trepidation, loads of Scottish actors and comedians loose with fairly full-blooded accents to confuse the unattuned ear - including a running gag of someone mumbling in a broad accent that even they don't understand. They add a couple of veteran English ones too for some roles.
All the classic elements of a fairy story are there - the personal element/lesson (it's a growing up story, not unlike Red Riding Hood in that sense), there's a witch in a cottage in the woods, acting on faith and so on. There are even a number of nicely crafted suspense moments that could easily be read as an older story being bowdlerised, certainly a strong moment that, to quote from the older versions of Red Riding Hood could be paraphrased without a stretch (but without spoilers) into "and the wolf gobbled her all up!" It fits so well that it wouldn't surprise me, if I was alive in a century, when I found the story in a collection of classic fairy tales. Unless the collection had Brothers Grimm on the cover.
There are, as we expect from Pixar, a lot of humorous moments too. None of them are particularly shoe-horned in. I know it's an entirely made-up story but many of the comedy elements are well worked in as situational humour, although there is a sideline of rude mechanicals that would make Shakespeare blush but worked well on the younger members of the audience, and some elements of a comedy of manners that in my sample seemed to work better with the older members. They pad, as is usually the case with fairy tales turned into movies, a sweet, short story into a long movie. If there are parents out there who still tell their children bedtime stories, the spoken version of the story, if they choose to tell it, could easily be a ten minute bedtime story.
If you want complexity and a deep, meaningful plot and artistic commentary on some aspect of life - filmic literature so to speak - you're in the wrong place. But a fun, simple story of the challenges of growing up, Brave is just what the doctor ordered. And as a film that is good entertainment for the whole family, at least the first time for poor beleaguered parents, Brave is right up there.
Two of the three of us enjoyed the irony of the Samsung advert before the show. Particularly the tag line "Designed for life" to which I added "by Apple" and Phil added something similar.
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