A reasonably full version of the Pixar film’s storyline illustrated with flat, lively cartoons rather than stills.
The tale features mother-daughter spats in a medieval castle, rides through ruggedly beautiful countryside, fights with and between giant bears and a princess as strong-willed as her wild thicket of red hair. It is set into variously shaped panels that appear one at a time in sequence with taps on the right edge of each screen. The background music is drawn from the movie, as is most of the boxed narrative commentary and the dialogue in balloons (from “It’s not just a story. Legends are lessons; they ring with truth.” to “That scaffy witch gave me a gamy spell!”). Fades and glides add a sense of movement on each screen, and except that Queen Elinor sounds like Chewbacca after she’s transformed into a bear, the sound effects effectively add both atmosphere and drama to the quickly paced tale. Unobtrusive and pleasing side features include several elaborate character portraits by the film’s conceptual artists and an interactive drawing board for figures of Princess Merida and the five bears in the story. Though trailing the movie’s “Storybook Deluxe” app in sophistication of art and software gimmickry, this iteration offers much more developed renditions of its progenitor’s plot, cast (female cast, anyway: The men are all just humongous galoots) and themes.
If you need to buy any Brave tie-in, this is the one. (iPad graphic-novel app. 7-9)