Monday, 4 June 2012

Disneyfication is not a dirtry word

Here's a little extract from today's Times coverage of Pixar's Brave junket in Scotland. Click Brave Express to read the full story

Welcome aboard the Brave Express,” drones the train announcer. “Please take time to familiarise yourselves with the safety information notices.” 

It’s Saturday morning and the largest press trip ever organised by VisitScotland is chugging out of Edinburgh. About 150 film journalists — Hollywood’s finest — are grinning at each other across lochs of complimentary whisky and mountains of haggis-flavoured crisps. This is what a national tourism agency does when the latest computer-animated Disney Pixar blockbuster is set on its own turf, offering the chance of almost unprecedented publicity. 

Brave is a fairy story set in an ancient Scotland that never quite existed, yet its backdrop is tantalisingly accurate. Pixar put years of research into its Scottish buildings and landscapes; little bits of Edinburgh, Dunnottar and Eilean Donan are to be found in the fictional DunBroch castle. The Callanish Standing Stones, a real and eerie presence on Lewis, are depicted as truly magical in the film. 

Over two days of private screenings and briefings in Edinburgh last week, the Disney vision was revealed to the Hollywood press corps. The Brave Express, as Mike Cantlay, chief executive of VisitScotland, puts it with commendable chutzpah, is “where legends come  to life” and where, hopefully, a modern country gets written into the ensuing coverage.