Thursday, 23 August 2012

Brave From A Scots Perspective

As you have probably all guessed I am from Scotland and I’m proud of it (as if the blog title and tartan banner didn’t hint at that enough for you). Growing up in the Scottish countryside I felt I had a ‘normal’ upbringing until I went to university and met people from the cities and other parts of the world. Needless to say there have been a few occasions where I have been met with blank stares when I have mentioned things that are perfectly normal for country folk to do that are seen as strange by others e.g. spending our summers working on the berry fields to earn some extra pocket money…

While some people may have been embarrassed to be different I have embraced it, it has made me appreciate what I have a lot more. Growing up on the east coast allowed me to go rock climbing at low tide with my friends and play with the whelks and crabs in rock pools and I had taken this for granted until recently.
After finding this renewed love for Scotland I was really excited to find out that Pixar were bringing out a movie based on Scotland! I of course jumped at the chance to go and see it.

I had some reservations about whether Pixar would put enough research into the Scottish way of life or whether they would create an “American Scotland” as seen in The Little Vampire movie, since when have Scottish primary school kids sat at individual desks, carried their books to school and not worn school uniform (I know some of the island schools don’t have a uniform but 99% of Scottish schools do) grrr…

However, Pixar did an excellent job!
They included Highland Dancing (one of my passions) and managed to put in the correct steps with the proper hand placements, they put in footage of the Highland Games with cabers, bagpipes and kilts galore and they definitely got the lingo! Not to mention they also made sure that the men were ‘true Scots’ when it came to the choice of underwear whilst wearing kilts!

I was also really impressed with the soundtrack, the music was extremely Scottish which was something I wasn’t expecting.  Pixar definitely put a lot of thought into this movie and even hired Patrick Doyle, a Scottish musician, to compose the soundtrack.

One thing I was a little disappointed in was Pixars choice to use a bear as one of the main characters. I can’t speak for the rest of the world but when I picture a Scottish animal I think a stag or maybe at a push the mysterious black panther sightings we get from time to time but never a bear. Don’t get me wrong there were bears in Scotland at the time that Brave is set (roughly 1,000 years ago) but after putting so much research into every other aspect of the film I feel that a bear was a strange choice of animal to represent Scotland. A deer would have made a much better choice for the film as the bear felt a little too similar to Disneys film Brother Bear where a man is transformed into a bear and has to learn to love an orphaned bear cub to become human again.

I have to admit I was very sceptical about going to see Brave due to the disappointment I had from watching The Little Vampire but judging from the laughs from the packed cinema audience I am not the only one to congratulate Pixar on their ability to keep the Scottish traditions factually correct.
The beach where I spent a lot of my childhood.
One of the highlights of the film for me personally was Disneys brave choice (pun intended) to use some Scots slang throughout the movie. Hearing phrases such as ‘help ma boab’ ‘manky’ ‘gammy’ ‘breeks’ ‘ken whit a mean’ ‘och aye’ and ‘jiggery pokery’ really went down  well with the audience. As stereotypical as the language was I have to admit that I have used a lot of these phrases on a daily basis and didn’t even realise that ‘gammy’ was a Scots word!
While I don’t think Brave will be one of Pixars most memorable films for the majority of people twenty years down the line, it really brings a breath of fresh air to the tired princess stories and will certainly be the favourite movie of many Scottish children (and adults) for years to come.

Until next time TTFN x

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