July 23, 2012 -
CelticRadio.net - Set
in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland, Disney's much anticipated Pixar movie
about a Scottish princess, swept into theaters in June with the roar of the
clans and to the march of the pipes. To those familiar with Scottish culture
through the games and other avenues, it was a welcomed focus on our beloved
Highland gatherings. From the stunningly rendered Scottish landscaped, to the
highly detailed castles, tartans, swords and yes - the caber toss - all add to
the rich display of Scottishness on the big screen for all to see.
The movie follows Merida (voice of Kelly MacDonald), a strong headed lass who is
perfectly fine with continuing to yield her sword, ride her horse and loose her
arrows all to the disapproval of her mother, Queen Eilnor (voice of Emma
Thompson). For the future plans of a princess are planned well in advanced and
when Merida finds out that she is to have a husband of not her choosing, she is
determined to change her fate.
Set in 10th century Scotland, the movie also features King Fergus, the father of
Merida and the unruly and uproarious Clan Chieftains. The massive Lord MacGuffin,
the surly Lord Macintosh and the cantankerous Lord Dingwall all add to the
fabric of the movie with their strong Scottish accents and character.
The opening scenes are some of the best of the movie, with Merida singing "Touch
the Sky" while riding her horse and then adventurously climbing a mountain to
drink from a towering waterfall. Disney builds on these Scottish themes through
The Gathering of the Clans, Highland Games, Dancing, Scottish wolfhounds,
Castles, panoramic views, and a hundred little details happening at once to show
the rich and robust nature of Scotland.
Composer Patrick Doyle does a wonderful job with the Scottish flavored scores
combining Gaelic melodies, jigs, reels, and bagpipes. The gentle Gaelic lullaby,
Mhaighdean Bhan Uasal", sung by Emma Thompson, is one of the best pieces along
with Song of Mor'du", a Scotch drinking song, heard mainly in the background,
but reiterated often throughout the rest of the movie. There are also three
other songs: "Touch The Sky" and "Into The Open Air", performed by Scots
songstress Julie Fowlis, and "Learn Me Right".
While Disney has done a fabulous job in recreating the Highlands of Scotland,
and for the first 45 minutes the movie will sweep any lover of Scottish culture
off their feet, the second half of the movie slips into a more traditional
Disney story. Not to say that the story about Princess Merida and Queen Eilnor
coming to terms with each other through a scary, yet comical twist of fate was
not ingenious and truly entertaining, in the opinion of this writer, Disney
could have broken with tradition and offered a story more meaningful and in line
with Scotland's rich history and legends of lore.
Still, the fact that Disney has invested heavily in a film that promotes
Scotland and generates interest in Scottish culture earns Disney the respect and
thanks from all that cherish Scotland. Disney should be commended on its
promotion of Scottish culture, even showing up at Highland Games across the
States and adding a Scottish Princess to their theme parks. To sum it up, Brave
is a beautiful, touching and inspiring film that should not be missed. Celtic
Radio proudly gives 5 stars to this Disney adventure which combines Scottish
history, a Disney story and outstanding music and scenes that reveal Scotland as
it should be - gorgeous, beautiful and an inspiration to all that love it's
Scotland's lands, people and culture.