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Thursday, July 5, 2012

"Brave" - Merida, the Scottish Heroine

An animated movie about a capable and sassy Scottish heroine, with great animation of the Scottish Highlands – you KNOW I’m going to go see this one!

I had hoped to take Little Bird to it while I was up there last month but we decided it wasn’t appropriate for her at this time.  If you want to know why we decided some of the scenes weren’t appropriate for a sensitive child, I’ll tell you at the bottom of the post under a ‘spoiler alert’.

However, not seeing it doesn’t mean her Auntie can’t buy her a Merida and Angus!  (BTW, there ARE black clydesdales and clydesdales are used for riding.)

So many places the movie used for its drawings, I have been to.

Glen Coe.

The Standing Stones of Callanish.

Eilean Donan Castle.

You’ll also see the broch on Lewis Island in the ruined “castle” where Merida first meets Mor’du the evil bear. 

(My tour of Scotland was with Cameron Tours of Scotland and was a perfect trip!  I highly recommend them if you want to book your own trip to Scotland.)

 Brave is the story of a young woman who wants to control her own fate and her mother who wants the best for her in the traditional manner.  The story evolves in the usual way (more or less) a fun cast of characters and beautiful Scottish scenes. 

What I enjoyed was the amount of detail brought to the animation to make it truly Scotland.  There are Highland Coos (cows) and Scottish Blackface Sheep, the Highlands and islands, the lushness of landscape, the labyrinth of castle halls, even the Highland games.

And the accents!  Almost every character was voiced by a native Scot. 

You can be sure that when it comes out in DVD, I will be buying TWO copies – one for me and one for Little Bird to see when she grows up a wee bit more. 

I would say the movie is appropriate for ages 6 and up.  The reason I think is below this last photo… this is a spoiler alert, so stop reading here if you don’t want to know some of the plot.

OK, still with me?  The reason I think it is a bit too intense for the babies is one of the final scenes. 

In the movie, Merida’s mother Elinor gets changed to a bear.  The whole story revolves around them working together to break the spell.  They have a grand time together and the breach between them is healed during this time…

… then, they must return to the castle to break the spell.  Here the father – who has had his leg taken off by an evil bear (someone who was also turned to a bear) and justifiably doesn’t like bears anymore – sees the Elinor bear.  He and visiting clan chiefs set off to kill it.  They catch up and immobilize the Elinor bear.  Then Merida catches up and is screaming and crying for her father not to kill it – trying to explain it is really her mother. 

WAY too intense for babies. 

Then you toss in the evil bear attacking the group and singling out Merida.  As it goes in for the kill, Elinor bear breaks her bonds and defends her daughter in a huge fight scene that sees the mother getting the crud beat out of her.

Again… too intense for babies.

Of course it all works out, but the journey is pretty scary.  And in my opinion, fodder for nightmares.

I’d recommend getting the DVD when it comes out and holding onto it until they are old enough to have it explained (and comprehend) before they see it.

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