Please insert your own Rebekah Brooks joke - we've run out of them.

Release Date: 13 August 2012
PG | 100 minutes
Distributor: Walt Disney
Directors: Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
Cast: Kelly MacDonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane

This year’s Oscar for Best Animated Movie was unprecedented – for the first time since the category was introduced in 2001, an eligible Pixar movie was not among the nominees. By the House Of Lightyear’s stellar standards, one Cars 2-shaped misstep marks something of a bad run, but thankfully Brave arrests the slide with some style.

While Pixar’s gorgeous trip to the Scottish Highlands in the tenth century isn’t quite up there with classics like Toy Story 3 and WALL-E, it’s still wonderfully entertaining stuff. That’s despite a set-up that wouldn’t be out of place in any Disney princess movie, as tomboyish teen Merida rebels against a mother who wants her to be a little more ladylike, turns her nose up at potential suitors from rival clans, and misguidedly dabbles in magic. If the first act is pure textbook, however, what happens next is anything but predictable, as the movie takes the oddest of turns and morphs into a bizarre quasi-road movie.

Brave is a wonderful piece of cinematic engineering, story and character in perfect harmony. It goes without saying that the animation is flawless and that the timeless, fairytale Scotland looks stunning, but it’s the little details that make the movie, even down to supporting players speaking obscure Highlands dialects that few will understand. Yep, Pixar is still refusing to make movies like anyone else – the other animation houses won’t be getting that Oscar nom quite so easily this time round.

Richard Edwards

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