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Barry Bateman Family Portraits Dec 2012Reviewer:  Sholain Govender-Bateman, Pretoria based journalism lecturer who worked for The Star, Pretoria  News & other  publications. She is mum to two gorgeous girls, Isobel and Aishwari, and wife to Barry. Visit her on twitter @sholain.

Funny, scary and sweet, the movie ‘Brave’ has a little bit of everything…

The Plot? The young headstrong Princess Merida with her fiery red hair refuses to follow tradition. Her rebellion against her mother who attempts to arrange a marriage for her leads to big problems and a bigger adventure as the mother and daughter try to undo a witch’s spell.

The Disney Pixar princess movie formula is complete with magic, mystical creatures and Scottish lords who bring their sons to compete for the princess’s hand in marriage.

Characters include a vicious bear, Merida’s hilarious dad who is voiced by Billy Connolly, as well as three of the cutest and naughtiest little animated boys I’ve seen on screen lately could have been a bit shorter than its 95 minutes running time but it’s full of action so it’s very unlikely that the audience will nod off.

The voices of all the characters are spot on with the Scottish setting which includes a grand castle, forest and river.

What stands out? Pixar have outdone themselves in terms of graphics! The animation is splendid and the 3D effects thrilled my four-year-old, Isobel. Another nice surprise was a short animated film called La Luna which precedes ‘Brave’.

Bottom line: The movie is not in the league of Shrek and Ice Age but is a heart-warming animation with lots of laughs for the whole family. Although the message is one of family unity and not to take your loved ones for granted, I’m sure that many pre-teens will identify with the rebellious nature of Merida. The movie does cover a range of emotions from joy to anger and sadness which is much deeper than Pixar’s previous animations like Cars but it’s not an overly serious movie.

Age Restriction: Rated PG for some rude humour in the form of flashing but it’s nothing to be alarmed about. Isobel did hold onto me tightly and shriek at some scary parts of the movie but overall there were more laughs.

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