Brave is a digitally animated comedy/fantasy, adventure from Pixar, the geniuses behind such masterpieces as WALL.E, Up and the Toy Story trilogy – this epic tale is set in Scotland.
It takes place in the rugged Scottish highlands and centres on flame haired Princess Merida (voice of Kelly MacDonald), a skilled horse-rider and archer who yearns for her independence but has her whole life planned out for her by her mother, Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson), who spends her every waking moments attempting to instruct her headstrong daughter on how to behave and act, when she herself becomes queen.
Merida, however, want to break with tradition and choose her own path in life and the feisty tomboy becomes furious with her mother for trying to map out her destiny: after an incident involving three suitors, Princess Merida has a huge argument with her mother and full of rage and bitterness towards her, she rides off on her faithful steed, Angus.
The whole film is embroidered with myth and magic and it is this mystical influence that leads our princess to the cottage of an eccentric witch – ‘wood carver’ (voice of Julie Walters).
Merida asks the witch for a spell that will change her mother – she believes if she can change the Queen, her own fate and destiny will take a different path.
Little does she know that by changing her fate, she has just unleashed an ancient curse that will create untold peril across the kingdom and so it is now up to our free-spirited heroin to set things right!
A great performance from Billy Connolly who voices Merida’s father, King Fergus: centuries of male dominated tradition calls for men to be fearless rampaging warriors, a time when men fought for power, position and survival and it is this influence from her father that encourages Princess Merida to believe she can control her own destiny and become the fearless warrior she has always dreamt of becoming.
We are treated to some stunning landscapes thanks to the use of next generation computer animation from the ‘masters’, Pixar – a haunting score helps conjure up a mythical kingdom of mountains, lochs and glens – a land of magnificent castles and mysterious stone circles.
Merida’s willful streak leads to trouble – in the form of a giant bear.
Great animation, a heartwarming story of the love between a parent and a child that creates a bond that cannot be broken: although it does seem a little familiar – going down the same road as previous films such as Disney’s Brother Bear and Mulan, but all in all, Pixar once again remain on top of their game.
British Director David Bowers has adapted the second book in the hugely successful best-selling series, ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ novels written by Jeff Kinney, which have sold over 42 million copies.
For any of you who aren’t familiar with Kinney’s books, we are treated to a blow-by-blow account of one boys (Greg Heffley) struggle to survive the scariest, most embarrassing and humiliating experiences of a kids life – “middle school”, relayed in the form of a diary complete with pictures.
The original film Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010), was a surprise hit at the box office and introduced us to a bunch of unknown actors who are all making a welcome reappearance in this latest offering and if the speed of this sequel is anything to go by we’ll be seeing them on our screens again real soon in the next instalment.
The beginning of the film see’s Greg, the kid who makes “wimpy” cool, starting in seventh grade after a pretty awful summer vacation and the film concentrates on the relationship of two brother’s sibling rivalry.
Once again diarist Greg relays his struggle with adolescence, family, friendships, school and embarrassing parents not to mention a sulky teen older brother and chief tormentor, Rodrick (Devon Bostick) who’s aim in life is to become rich and famous, playing in his band.
When Rodrick isn’t making music that stinks, he spends every waking minute trying to make his brother’s life a misery: he sees this as his brotherly duty.
The situation between the brothers gets so bad their parents Susan and Frank Heffley (Rachael Harris & Steve Zahn) who are even funnier and more than a tad embarrassing in this sequel: are determined to unite the brothers and get them to bond.
We are treated to some great plots such as Greg and his best friend Rowley’s (once again brilliantly played by Robert Capron), quest to become internet sensations: the sleepover and a weekend at Grandpa’s house that really fails to unite the two brothers and finally the comical house party fiasco to mention just a few, this film is packed full of action.
I guarantee if you think adolescence and growing up is tough you’ll feel a whole lot better knowing you’re not on your own out there, maybe it’s not so bad being a wimpy kid after all!
Look out for: Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3: Dog Days – due to be released in August 2012.
Director Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is mixed with the imagination of Lewis Carroll’s famous nineteenth century family fantasy novellas and a visual roller coaster ride that represents a classic Tim Burton movie that has been adapted by Linda Woolverton.
Whenever I hear the name Tim Burton, fantasy and darkness always springs to mind, in this film he uses computer generated imagery (CGI) with 3D effects to give audiences a visual feast.
I was lucky enough to watch this movie in IMAX 3D and it added to the dark mystical fantasy feel of the film especially the special effects used in the scene where Alice fights the Jabberwocky producing some stunning 3D visuals that will make you sit on the edge of your seat.
Look out for Burton’s very clever use of CGI animation used for the character of the Cheshire Cat voiced by Stephen Fry who pops up every now and then, “now you see him, now you don’t.”
Johnny Depp is absolutely hilarious as the Mad Hatter especially at his tea party and prepare to be dazzled by Johnny’s dance scene!
He not only plays the role as if he’s a man with a split personality, he also keeps changing accents throughout the film, some people may find this slightly irritating and confusing.
In this new version of Lewis Carroll’s fantasy classic, Alice: played by newcomer Mia Wasikowska, is now a 19-year-old, who is returning to Wonderland to be greeted by her old friends the Dormouse (Barbara Windsor) and Absolem the Caterpillar (Alan Rickman).
With the help of her old friends, Alice must overthrow the tyrannical Red Queen played superbly by Helena Bonham Carter and join forces with the angelic White Queen (Anne Hathaway) in a classic battle of good versus evil.
My favourite characters in the movie would have to be Tweedledee/Tweedledum, both played by Matt Lucas using a combination of live action and animation, the facial expressions and comic timing between the two is brilliant.
If you are asking yourself should I go and see this movie or should I just pass and wait for its DVD release then my answer is that you should definitely go and check this out but don’t expect yet another feel good family movie that you would usually associate with the original film.
If you liked the sweet original Walt Disney version of the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter then this will not be your cup of tea!
Alice in Wonderland is still a good children’s movie though very young children might turn white with fright……
This is one of my old movie reviews – Aneurin.