A splendid, Oscar-winning animation from Pixar about a feisty princess, Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), in medieval Scotland.
The tomboy daughter of bluff, big-hearted King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and regal, decorous Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), Merida is headstrong and independent, fearless on horseback and a dab hand with a bow. But when her parents declare that it is her duty to marry, her attempt to choose her own destiny unwittingly provokes a beastly curse.
With thrills, scares and lashings of humour as the adventure unfolds, this is another sparkling animated gem. Not quite among the studio’s greatest triumphs, perhaps, but it’s still a winner thanks to the canny mix of traditional fairy-tale elements and a recognisably modern sensibility – at heart the film is very much a prickly mother-daughter relationship story. The animators are at the top of their game, too, whether capturing Merida’s unruly mop of red hair or the unearthly will o’ the wisps that lead her into an eerie forest.
The mostly genuinely Scottish voice cast also gets top marks, in particular Kevin Kidd, Craig Ferguson and Robbie Coltrane rising to the occasion as hilarious quarrelling clan chieftains.