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'Brave' video games, apps, music get thumbs up

This film image released by Disney/Pixar shows the

This film image released by Disney/Pixar shows the character Merida, voiced by Kelly Macdonald, in a scene from "Brave." Credit: AP

Never thought in a million years an 8-year-old boy would want to see the girl-centric animated adventure "Brave," which opens today in theaters. But thanks to some great marketing by Disney's Pixar, Harrison, my son, announced this morning that he does.

Score one for the girls.

Actually, the marketing isn't only brilliant, but the tie-ins worthwhile. The first of the test products to come home was "Brave: The Video Game," which was a hit the moment the disc slid into the Wii. Although the format isn't particularly original, Harrison and his video-game-programming father enjoyed the play, thanks in part to the environment, look, characters and music (we just returned from Scotland for vacation, so you know we are all fond of the music). Harrison felt a sense of accomplishment as he, through the film's main character Merida, solved puzzles, bought weapons and fought cool-looking monsters. The boys also enjoyed the so-called cut scenes — those little snippets between game play that advance the story. They were done in a more original comic book style.

Next came the apps, which Harrison tried on an iPad. The first, "Brave: Storybook Deluxe" ($6.99 for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch) is a beautifully animated book with narration that retells the plot of the film. There are also great puzzles and games — including one involving Merida's signature archery.

"Brave: The Interactive Comic" ($1.99 for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch) Harrison enjoyed even more, thanks to the graphic novel format with music, special effects and drawing lessons.

We moved on to the soundtrack of "Brave," which impressed with original music by Scottish Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, British singer and pianist Birdy, and British folk rock band Mumford & Sons, as well as a score by composer Patrick Doyle. There are even some tunes by actor Billy Connolly and actress Emma Thompson.

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