‘Our fate lies within ourselves. We just have to be brave enough to see it,’ says Princess Merida, the winsome, feisty heroine of Disney-Pixar’s latest animated romp Brave (PG, nationwide). ‘Why shouldn’t we choose our own fate?’ asks another character, chafing at the constraints imposed by family, duty and tradition. Why not, indeed?
As Brave is set in Scotland — albeit an imagined Caledonia owing more to Ossian than history — the politics of the movie are inescapable. If you’re burdened with being Scottish, that is. The rest of the world can, and presumably will, enjoy this caper unburdened by such dreary contemplation.
Nevertheless one can see why Alex Salmond salutes Brave (and not just because he hopes cinema-goers, entranced by a mythic, animated version of the Scottish landscape, will be inspired to visit the real thing). The first half of the movie insists we should follow our dreams.
Merida, you see, chafes at the idea that her future can be decided by her parents. Many adventures ensue before she is persuaded that, this being a Disney movie, the ties of family are worth preserving. ‘Ours is an alliance forged in bravery and friendship that endures to this day,’ says a clan chief, recalling a settlement that ended past quarrels.
Disney doesn’t do politics but there’s grist for Unionists and nationalists alike in Brave. Other, happier, people will just enjoy it for the fun and frolics it delivers with gusto.