Pixar’s latest contribution to the sparsely populated arena of PG-rated animated children’s fare is a droll fairytale built of ancient Celtic myths. 10th century Scotland’s rugged highlands provide the lush setting where an independently minded girl, Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), comes face to face with her destiny. The princess-to-be is daughter of King Fergus (voiced by Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). Tradition demands that a competition be held to decide which of the amusingly grotesque local men Merida will marry. Redheaded Merida will have none of this nonsense. The headstrong lass uses her masterful archery skills to tilt the games in her favor. A rift with her mother follows that sends Merida searching for a magical remedy to her problems. While the film’s 3D effects are extraneous at best, the animation is top notch. The ever-reliable Kelly Macdonald gives her spritely young character plenty of gutsy Scottish charm in this cautionary tale about a child’s relationship with his or her parents. An eloquent aspect of the tale shows that the lesson works in both directions.
Rated PG. 100 mins. (B) (Three Stars - out of five/no halves)
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