Brave, Frankenweenie, Robin Hood, How to Train Your Dragon films on TV today

Happy Christmas! It's a bad hair day in the glens, it's just not Christmas without a dead dog movie?, Russell doesn't sing, and time to love a dragon: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

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BARRY NORMAN:  FILM OF THE DAY 
Brave ★★★★
PREMIERE 3.10-4.35pm BBC1 

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Pixar’s 13th full-length film is the studio’s first to feature a female as its central character, and a memorable creation she is, too. Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) is a Scottish princess whose head of unruly red hair conveys her fiery spirit: this is a young woman who prefers horse riding and archery to the restrictive life of the court. When Merida learns that her mother (Emma Thompson) plans for her to marry to preserve peace in the kingdom, the princess takes off. But this being a fairy tale, she winds up in a forest, where she meets a witch and begs for a spell that will change her mother’s mind. Bad idea. In terms of story Brave seems rather old-fashioned alongside Pixar films such as Up and WALL-E, but there is still plenty to admire. It looks stunning: from the re-creation of the Scottish countryside to Merida’s live-wire hair, the film is a technical marvel. Also, while Merida matures during the film, hers is not the predictable romantic fate of spirited princesses past. That said, Brave serves up some lazy clichés in its depiction of the kingdom’s menfolk and while the film is very entertaining, it lacks the audacious spirit of the studio’s earlier offerings.


Frankenweenie ★★★★
PREMIERE 1.45-3.05pm BBC2

Tim Burton’s homage to B-movie horrors features a young boy who brings his dead dog back to life. A poignant tale told using wonderful stop-motion animation and shot in sumptuous black and white.


Robin Hood ★★★
8.00-10.45pm More4 

Russell Crowe is a decidedly dour incarnation of the Sherwood legend but Cate Blanchett delivers plenty of vim as a feisty Marion in this adventure yarn, while Mark Strong is as brilliantly menacing as ever. Just don’t mention Crowe’s accent.


How to Train Your Dragon ★★★★
8.45-10.15pm BBC3 

A visually stunning animation about a teenager (voiced by Jay Baruchel) who reckons dragons aren’t that bad really. You’ll see why when he saddles one up and takes to the skies.


The Bourne Supremacy ★★★★
10.55pm-1.05am ITV2 

Matt Damon is Bourne again in this all-action sequel about the unsmiling amnesiac spy wondering why everyone on earth is trying to kill him.


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