A Brave new world

King Fergus of Clan DunBroch (voiced by Billy Connolly) and his wife Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) plan to marry off their daughter Merida (Kelly Macdonald) to the first-born son of one of the other clans.

However, Merida disrupts the Highland Games designed to test the suitors, then flees into the forest where she encounters a witch (Julie Walters).

“I want a spell to change my mum. That’ll change my fate,” the princess tells the hag.

So the witch gives Merida an enchanted cake and when Queen Elinor takes a bite, she metamorphoses into a bear – the same animal which cleaved off King Fergus’s left leg.

The princess is consumed with regret, and fears her father will kill Queen Elinor in her fearsome new form. So mother and daughter head into the wilderness to break the spell.

The quality of animation in Brave is jaw-dropping. Merida’s fiery flowing locks deserve an Academy Award on their own, and that’s before your eyes are wooed by the sweeping landscapes, action-packed chases and colourful supporting characters.

The 3D format and comes into its own when Merida and trusty steed Angus gallop through forests and glens as low-hanging branches whizz past at dizzying speed.