Kelly Macdonald (Merida - the leading 'Brave' character) has the most wonderful voice. I just had to get that out of the way. Apart from that, Emma Thompson (Elinor - Mother) can do a posh scottish brogue and Billy Connolly (Fergus - Dad) is well, Billy Connolly. Brave is set in an animated version of Scotland that comes close to being one of the most picturesque interpretations of the ancient Caledonian Confederacy and even nods a head to the Pictish tribes. Pixar must have spent quite some time getting a Scottish download into their brains but despite this, Brave is a mixture of great animation and stereotypical tripe.
Kilt jokes, caber jokes, kids eating haggis, an unintelligible northerner, pointless brawling, and of course red hair. Add to the mix some magical mishaps, some will-o'-the-wisps (aren't they English, not Scottish?), and a horse called Angus. There is so much more than this that could have been explored but instead Pixar decided to focus on a womens' rights campaign that ended with the heroine saving the day by [ ! (minor) SPOILER ALERT ! ] doing some sewing.
Disney, have you purchased PIXAR to run them into the ground by creating embarrassing films? From a little girls perspective (I can but try) this was probably a lovely little film, with a lovely little girl, with lovely flowing hair, as the hero. But these girl will grow up and think you are bonkers. What a fantastic opportunity to create a female-centred Toy Story or Lion King - an adventure with depth and meaning and covering a wider scope of story-world issues and gender issues. No, you guys went for "girl runs away because she doesn't want to get married and has some issues with her mum and dad about it." I really feel like swearing at you. And I'm not even a woman (yet).
From a technical perspective this was masterpiece - and this is where the points are being retained. Beautiful hair textures and gravitational algorithms animated our hero's mane like the real thing. The scenery is to die for and close up detail of everything in Disney-Scotland is truly awesome. But didn't pay to see a gorgeous computer game. If I only want to see great 3D, I'll keep watching the AC3 trailer over and over again…
In summary, Brave is a passable 'kids film' that boys and girls will enjoy - and especially mothers (that's not a spoiler). It's not the standard I would have expected from Walt and Co in terms of story but it is entertaining and very watchable. It's not rubbish but I wouldn't watch it twice either. The attempt (and following flop) to create a non-traditional female lead was cringible (that's my own word, made just for you Disners!)
I saw the 2D version - but I really can't believe that 3D would have enhanced the story that much.