Don't be put off by my title: there is nothing sinister here chaps!! Indeed, with my general 'bloggings' I shall attempt to delight and astound you out of the mundaneness of a middle class suburban life, into the magical world of the Sophster!! Mystical...

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Sophie's Film Choice #4: BRAVE

'Fate be changed, look inside. Mend the bond torn by Pride.'

When I first heard about Pixar's latest venture, 'Brave', I was very undecided. My reasons are three fold:

Aww. But your face IS out of proportion.
1. After just recovering from the emotional trauma of  'Toy Story 3' (seriously, take care of your toys Andy!) I could not imagine that a story surrounding actual human beings could connect to me on the same emotional level. As a super- fan of the company, I have always admired the artistry, humour and detail which makes Pixar films so captivating; but the representation of people (not monsters, robots, rats, or bugs) has always seemed problematic. Don't get me wrong, Boo in 'Monsters Inc.' was very cute; but not quite human. Edna Mole in 'The Incredibles' was hilarious; but not quite human.

2. It's about Scotland. And therefore Scottish people. With Scottish accents. And therefore they must be ginger and say 'wee' a lot and  have the token voice acting of Billy Connelly. The American (and particularly the 'Disney') perception of the British Isles has always been, at best, superficial, and the premise of this film seemed to crystallise this stereotypical view of kilt- wearing, dishevelled Scots.

3. The plot was kept extremely elusive and potentially tired. 'If you could change your destiny, would you?' That could probably be the tag line to about 40% of Hollywood films. I'm gonna answer 'no' just to be difficult and original. Anyway, given the image of a princess, riding on a horse, changing her destiny is all very middle- of - the - road 'Disney.'

However, I live by the famous mantra 'Pixar is holy and I will be cursed if I don't enjoy it' and so I found myself still super- excited to see it with my mum at the cinema.

FORGET ALL THAT SHPEEL I JUST SAID AND GO AND SEE IT. It's beautiful and so much more than it appears.

The film should firstly be congratulated on its visual merit. The scenery is so delicately animated and the colours and use of light so perfect that I am sure I would still enjoy 'Brave' in mute. But I suppose that is a given from 'Pixar' nowadays. Secondly the animation of the characters themselves was actually effective. I didn't feel the barrier that I usually would when humans are introduced into the aesthetic, as the main characters (particularly Merida and Queen Elinor) are well- crafted and three dimensional (both in terms of animation and emotional depth hahaha I did a funny.)

The mother- daughter relationship explored in 'Brave' is really what made the film stand out to me as one of my new favourite 'Pixar' films. Queen Elinor, voiced by the always heart warming Emma Thompson, is a woman battling with her responsibilities to maintain her daughter's reputation and keep her respect and love. Merida is a well- observed teenager; frustrated, trapped, and losing sight of the gratitude and affection her mother deserves. The relationship between the two is believable and poignant. Throw a hagged old witch and some terrifying bear chasing into the mix and we are on to a winner.
'Just tell me how you get your hair so curly!'

I don't want to spend hours detailing the pros and cons of the plot, and everything I found charming about this film because I think it should be enjoyed with wonder the first time. However, I will guarantee the wry and subtle humour already displayed by the geniuses at 'Pixar', combined with some slapstick of course (well, it is Scotland after all). There are moments of genuine fear (think barracuda attack at the beginning of 'Finding Nemo' x100), magical visuals and those moments where you get that lump in the back of your throat; well, me and the mother were sobbing uncontrollably, but I would imagine others may have more pride. It was bloody sad though. Bring some tissues.

A surprise 'Pixar' masterpiece, I would recommend 'Brave' to families worldwide, a lovely film which combines 'Disney' magic with very real and resonating human feeling. Och aye, it's a cracker!

PS. Apologies that some of the pictures stick out into the margin. I didn't have the heart to crop them.