Review: BRAVE and the music of Patrick Doyle
The Society of Composers & Lyricist had a special showing of BRAVE last night with a Q&A session with Patrick Doyle after the film.
Let me start of by say Pixar has done it again. BRAVE is a wonderful film, with a charming story line that really captures the beauty of Scotland. This is not a twee (cheezy) film that mocks Scotland like Brigadoon, but captures both the attitudes (good and bad) of the people, the feeling of the landscape and heart of the music without pandering to stereotypes. The voices are alive with the accent, albeit the accents have been softened a bit to be understandable (for an American audience). The rich colors of the countryside occasionally look cartoon-ish, but for someone who lived there for 10 years and traveled highlands, lowlands and islands extensively, believe the colors are real. Patrick Doyle dug deep into his roots growing up in Uddingston Scotland (just outside Glasgow) and brought in some stellar Celtic musicians to give the film an authentic feel.
From the tin whistle right as the opening credits begin, to the long sustains of the Celtic fiddle when the sun comes up on the standing stones (near the end of the film) the music grabs you, transports you and never lets you forget you are in a land filled with magic and wonder. The pipers from "The Red Hot Chili Pipers" lend their expertise to the film, but are never over stated. Celtic harp, tin whistles, bag bipes, bodhrans, dulcimers and uilleann pipes all make appearances on the soundtrack, but are highlights rather than base. The London Symphony Orchestra provided rich foundation for the Celtic instrumental coloring. James Shearman conducted and orchestrated the film.
The film is animation, yet I can't remember a film that recreated the feeling of Scotland and its sense of mystery as well as BRAVE.