Tag Archives: Julie Walters


Brave film posterSynopsis

Animation about a Scottish princess who will not conform to the conventional conduct expected of her by her mother (Emma Thompson) and a more indulgent father (Billy Connolly).  Her mother wants her to marry but the suitors are hopeless.  Then the princess gets a magic potion that turns her mother into a bear.  She can only change back if the princess can weave magically…


In the Disney tradition of feisty, independent girls who are superior to the men.  It carries on the good work of Mulan, The Frog and the Princess, and Rapunzel.  However I expected more, and was disapointed because it’s too sanitized for the global market.  It’s a tartan fantasy like an animated label on a whiskey bottle.  At least we were spared a smoothie Englishman who’s always an obvious villain.  It’s a film about Scots people and there are recognizable quirks in the characters.  The fairy story itself is familiar yet colourful.  The obvious answer to my earlier complaint is that it’s only a fairy story, but can’t even a fantasy get beyond the Mel Gibson clownishness of Braveheart.  Recent historians have insisted that while the Highlands were being cleared of people, the fantasy of tartan Scotland was born:  there must be kilts and bagpipes.  Tartan kitsch appears to be a 19th century invention.  This film is Brigadoon as animation.

The Princess herself has fiery red hair (naturally she’s Scottish).  Brave, whether intentionally or not, criticizes certain present day cultural practises:  she rebels against an arranged marriage and she doesn’t like her hair being hidden by a veil.  Brave treads the well worn path of the wayward girl learning love and maturity in the end (like in any Hollywood teen Film), but interestingly there is no boyfriend.   It’s all about reconciliation with a mother who is similarly chastened.  The message is clear, we must be true to our better instincts.  Nice to watch but offers nothing really different.


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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2Synopsis

H.P. and chums finally battle the dark forces led by R. Fiennes as Voldemort with Helena Bonham Carter and co.  They attack Hogwarts and there is a final battle in which H.P. seems to die but meets Michael Gambon  and he survives though Voldemort thinks he has killed Potter.  Snape is killed and among the secrets about H.P. is that Snape loved Potters’ mother.  H.P. and co defeat the forces of evil.  At the end the adult Harry, Hermione, and Ron send their kids to Hogwarts.


For me this film repeats the limitations of the other films which I’m told, are not as good as the books.  This public school farrago with painted hats once again has actors pointing sticks at each other but this time they bring in some Lord of the Rings type trolls.  Voldemort looks like a latex Quasimodo.  Potter and his cronies look like lottery winners in a special effects bonanza.  I’m bemused as to why this Tom Brown’s Schooldays with Dr Who, has caught on globally.  The franchise has simply grown by a sort of populist osmosis.  Like a house pet it’s been around for years and acquired a cosy familiarity.

It’s all safe and unchallenging, too comfortable with its middle class preening.  There’s nothing disconcerting or innovative.  It’s too rooted in the early 21st century to be able to say anything universal about childhood or our fantasies.  Still, crticizing it makes you feel like the Christmas party pooper, the guy who mugged Santa Claus.

Rowling has become Britain’s Disney and she may do impressive things yet, but these films lack the magic that many of her readers find in her books.  Can’t say I’m sorry to see the end of these films.  This is the last, isn’t it?.


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