"It's not my fault!" We hear this familiar cry many times during the course of this exciting PG-rated film. A doughty red-haired girl and her faithful horse are up against an old curse that has turned one Scottish clan against another. Not only that, our willful and stubborn princess is in full revolt against her mother's attempts to turn her into a lady. She would much rather be in the forest with her bow and arrows, or climbing rocks to test her courage.

The combination of Pixar and Disney gives us wonderfully emoted animation, with the mother's subtle expressions that ring true, plus stunningly realistic animals: the horse in particular is amazing, although the bear is good, too. (I didn't like the dogs.)

Voiced by:
  • Kelly Macdonald ("Boardwalk Empire") is Merida, our tomboy princess, who has long curly red hair and blue eyes, the perfect Scots lass. Ms Macdonald was born in Scotland, but as an actress, she plays any nationality ("No Country For Old Men"); here we are treated to an authentic Scots' brogue.
  • Emma Thompson ("Men in Black III") is exquisite as a frustrated Queen Elinor, struggling with her rebellious daughter who does NOT want to be a lady!
  • Billy Connolly ("Gulliver's Travels") is King Fergus, rambunctious, brawling, and with one peg leg, due to an historic bout with a bear many years ago.
  • Julie Walters ("Momma Mia!") cackles her way around our heroine as The Witch, full of more trickery than teeth.
Animation gets better and better, plus the sound was outstanding. The horse's hoof-beats were clearly those of a massive Clydesdale rather than a regular-size riding horse. Don't ask me how I know....

Expect lots of brawling, chaotic chase scenes and a truly violent fight between two bears. Bloodless, but with lots of roaring, claws and teeth. Not a child in our packed screening audience moved a muscle.

Surprisingly, even though this is Disney, there is no Prince Charming to come to her rescue, she's pretty resourceful; and then, because this is Disney, our heroine finally owns up to her own mistakes and admits it when something IS her fault! Whew!

Oh! And be careful what you wish for!
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Here is a link to a preview:
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