Starring: Kelly MacDonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, Sally Kinghorn, Eilidh Fraser, Peigi Barker, Steven Cree, Steve Purcell, and more.
Directed by: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, and Steve Purcell Story by: Brenda Chapman Screenplay by: Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, and Irene Mecchi Original Music by: Patrick Doyle
Premise: All of her life Merida has been trained by her mother the queen on how to be a proper princess. Yet Merida cares nothing about those things being happiest when she's out in the woods riding her horse and shooting arrows. So when the queen arranges for the sons of the king's three vassals to come compete for Merida's hand in marriage, Merida uses the word of the law to take matters into her own hands not thinking about the possible consequences. And when she uses a bit of magic to try to change things, matters only grow worse. (Rated PG)
1) Voice Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Kelly MacDonald was precious as the independent, free spirit Merida. As the queen, Emma Thompson was able to come across as both strict and loving. Julie Walters was a lot of fun as the Witch/Woodcarver. But it was Billy Connolly as Fergus, Merida's father, who put in a lot of the film's fun! While the two principals carried the weight of the problems between daughter and mother, it is all the side characters that make the film such a delight to watch.
2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Pixar always does marvelous work with their animations and their expertise shows in every frame of the film. With sweeping vistas or running views through the woods, we're immersed in Merida's world, one full of Celtic flavor and magic. I do not envy those placed in charge of animating Merida's flowing, curly hair!
The expressions of the characters are easy to read and mesh well with the voice actors's talents. Even better, they impart many feelings visually, especially from those characters who can't or don't speak.
Merida's three brothers are hilarious and so very cunning. Fergus and the lords are used to great effect for comedic relief.
3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: The story doesn't turn out to be quite what you expect, so some surprises were in order. It is a personal tale, with personal stakes, not the kind which will have dire consequences to the world. Some viewers might be slightly disappointed in this, as the previews slant the expectations about the story to be more far reaching. But there's so much to love about the film, hopefully the lack of a world ending type plot won't detract from their enjoyment of it too much.
All the characters, even those in the periphery, were given great depth and viewers will get a sense of who they are very easily. Even the young suitors for Merida's hand get given hints of who they may one day become, of the potential still hiding inside each of them.
Conclusion: A fun film with something for everyone. It moves at a good pace and intermingled with a lot of fun or funny moments. Don't be surprised if you need a tissue at the end. And make sure to sit through the credits, as there is just a bit more for the audience at the very end. Definitely worth seeing.
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Paying Full Price To See It Again)
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