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, “A 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.
5 Scottish Stars from Celtic Radio!
Video Trailer of Brave:
Picture Gallery from Brave: