Brother Bear (2003)
USA / English
"This November, see through another's eyes, feel through another's heart, and discover the meaning of brotherhood. "A young Inuit hunter seeks vengence against a bear, only to be magically changed into a bear himself, and his only chance to change back is with a talkative bear cub.
2D animation is NOT dead
With sweeping vistas, beautifully designed and painted panoramas, and a
couple of good Phil Collins Songs thrown in for good measure, (more on the
songs later) Walt Disney Pictures Brother Bear, opening Saturday takes you
on an enjoyable ride from it's first drum beat till its
Brother Bear begins as the youngest of three Intuit brothers (Kenai) is
preparing for his eagerly awaited right of passage ceremony. The story
drags a bit here, but it introduces the premise that he (Kenai) is
and immature, and to make his transition to manhood, he must learn to live
his life with love, and all that love implies.
The story picks up and runs after the selfish Kenai is transformed into a
bear by the spirits that live in the Aurora Borealis so that he may learn
what life is like on the `Other side.' To become a human again, he must
journey to the place where the `lights touch the earth' to meet again with
the spirit of his brother Sitka, the only one that can change him
On this journey, he meets the comic relief of the show in the characters
Rutt and Tuke, two wayward moose that have a brilliantly overdone Canadian
twang, with one liners that zip as quickly as the `eh's.' He also meets
Koda, an orphaned baby bear who promises to take him to where the lights
touch the earth in exchange for companionship and love. Wisely here these
animals talk, but only to each other. When humans are around the usual
grunts and growls prevail.
As the film heads toward the end and its surprising twist, Kenai finds
Koda is an orphan by his hand and that he can and will give up or change
anything for love.
The secret to this movie is its beauty, ironically released as the Disney
studio announced it is forsaking hand drawn animation in favor of total CG
movies. While the success of `Nemo' and `Toy Story' can't be questioned,
give up what got you there is a shame, and in my opinion shows an amazing
Bear is long on beauty, fun, and terrific Phil Collins music that is sure
bring the studios another Oscar. `I'm On My Way' is out as a single
I thought Collins' second song would be the money tune) and it's doing
The only thing I couldn't figure out is why Tina Turner sings a song at
beginning. Turner's appeal comes from her stage presence, and having her
sing this song seems a waste, (just like having Wynona sing an Elvis song
over the credits in Lilo and Stitch) and really seems an intrusion on the
pristine beauty at the very beginning. Turner is not a ballad
Brother Bear (produced by the Disney Orlando Animation Studio, as was Lilo
and Mulan) will do well for the story, the beauty, the music and the
of the release. At my screening, the auditorium was filled with the Disney
target audience, but the laughter, the `Oohs and ahhs' and the tears of
happiness at the end from kids and parents alike are sure to bring joy to
the producers. Last's year's November release, Treasure Planet (though
panned by many) would have done well, if not for the `not-so-coincidental'
release of the second Potter installment.
Brother Bear gets an A-.
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