With the Olympics now over and no longer filling our television screens 24/7 and the Edinburgh Tattoo and festival in full swing, there has been no better timing this week for Disney/Pixar to launch their new Scottish set animation, Brave.
I am a secret Pixar fan, so with the excuse of entertaining my young niece and nephew, I grabbed the kids and trundled down to our local cinema to watch it on the big screen. As you would expect from Disney, the film was a solid fantasy adventure story with endearing characters and a good splash of humour – the kids were engrossed. But having lived in Scotland for 3 years, what I was intrigued to see was how the look and feel of Scotland would be captured in their animation?
The remote and rugged landscapes of the Scottish Highlands have provided an ideal back-drop for storytellers throughout the ages but I was concerned that they might lose their appeal when converted in to animation. I must say however that Brave didn’t disappoint. It seems that capturing a genuine look and feel of Scotland was a labour of love for the production team and director Mark Andrews, who actually spent his honeymoon vacation in Scotland. The animators made a number of visits to Scotland whilst working on the film to experience themselves the Scotland that they were to recreate and immerse themselves quite literally in the Scottish landscapes (reportedly rolling in heather and swimming in
Highland lochs!). The result is some enchanting images and sequences which truly capture the colour, texture and atmosphere of the Scottish Highlands.
The film features a number of Scottish traditions and icons including Highland Games, tartan clad clan leaders, ancient castles and mysterious standing stones. Whilst, it seems, none of the settings and backdrops are based on specific locations in Scotland you can see that the producers drew inspiration from some key landmarks they visited such as Dunottar Castle, Eilean Donan Castle and the Callanais Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis in the remote Scottish Islands.
The film impressed and the kids were entertained however it must be said that whilst the stunning animation of Disney is a good taster, there is really no substitute for coming and experiencing the enchanting landscapes of Scotland first-hand.