Hey Guys! Gerawallstar here, and I am here to review the 44th Walt Disney Animated film, Brother Bear, which was released in 2003. Brother Bear came out at a time where Disney was going to abandon their lifelong legacy of having 2D animated films since the last film before this film, Treasure Planet crashed and burned at the box office. Fortunately this film was a financial success. However, this film was critically panned when it was released. I actually saw this film in theaters as a kid, and I loved it. Now as an adult, it’s not as good as I remembered it being, but it’s not as bad as the critics say it is.
The story is about a Native American boy named Kenai who got turned into a bear by the spirits after going against his cultural traditions. So he embarks on a big journey meeting up with a couple of animals to learn from his mistakes. This film has a strong opening where it does a great job establishing the brothers named Kenai, Denahai, and Stika bond with each other. It also does a solid job in showing more inuit culture. The death scene of Stika was emotional. Amd the climax/ending was great as well. Now a lot of people didnt like the scene in the movie where Kenai was turned into a bear to learn a lesson. But for me, I actually didnt mind him being transformed into a bear. It works well for this type of movie. I will go more into detail about that when I get to the characters. Unfortunately the middle half when he does turn into a bear is where the good ends. My problem with Kenai turning into a bear is that instead of digging into more of the elements that made the beginning/ending so good, the middle half just focuses on being a bland generic kids movie with two bears going on a road trip meeting various animals, and also having unfunny slapstick humor. Witnessing this throughout the film makes me understand why a lot of people didnt like this movie when it came out. The humor is so painful and kiddie that features the animals talking in modern slang, and two goats echoing shut up for example, for no reason. It has nothing to do with the story at all. Now I liked these scenes fine but the problem with this is that it makes the movie have a very odd and frustrating tone with the beginning and the middle sections of it. If theres one thing I did enjoy about the middle half was the salmon run scene with the bears having a good time, and the leader named Tug voiced by Michael Clark Duncan giving Kenai advice about appreciating nature. The story did have potential of being fantastic with the beginning, and the ending being strong with all of that being wasted with the tedious middle part of the film. I give the story five stars.
With the messy story out of the way, let’s talk about the good: the animation. The animation is beautiful with the backgrounds amd the colors feeling gorgeous. The animators gave it their all with the visuals. The visuals do a great job reflecting on the alaskan setting in the film. The transformation scene of the spirits transforming Kenai into a bear showcases great visual effects of them. The water animation looks good as well. As great as the animation is, I cant say that its perfect. What I don’t like about the animation is how the bears are designed. The bear designs look cartoony and very Disney-esque instead of looking more realistic. It feels out of place. I also noticed that some of the animal designs in the movie look like they came from another TV show/movie with the mammals looking more like Manny from Ice Age, and Koda looking more like Little Bear from the children’s TV show Little Bear. Despite the design flaws with the bears, the animation is great. I give the animation eight stars.
I have mixed feelings on the characters. Most of the characters are good, but there also some characters that are not so good. Kenai is a good character with him starting out as a childish and irresponsible younger brother who gets some great character Development as the movie goes on. Him being transformed into a bear works way better here than a movie like, PIXAR’S Brave, because it gives Kenai a purpose of learning more about nature, and to grow up. Denahai is a good character as well. I loved how vested he is in his inuit culture, and the way he wants to kill the bear that killed Stika is understandable. I’m glad that the movie didnt make him a villain, rather make him have an understandable motivation for killing the bear. Tanana is a great elderly woman who is wise and very helpful to Kenai in the beginning of the movie. I also enjoyed Tug the bear in the movie. I know a lot of people hated Koda in the movie, but to be honest, I find him kind of cute. Besides, he is just a kid. However, he can be annoying at times. Sadly, you also have most of the animals characters that are poor as characters. The Canadian Moose characters named Rutt and Tuke are very annoying. I couldn’t stand them with their horrid jokes and the Canadian stereotypes. The characters in a nutshell are forgettable. I give the characters five stars.
Even though this isnt a musical, most of the songs in the movie are sunged by Phil Collins, and in my opinion, he is a poor choice to do the songs in the movie. The song “On my way” is forgettable and annoying, while the song “No way out” is the worst song in any movie, and let me tell you why. They put that song right in the emotional scene where Kenai reveals to Koda that he killed his mother. What were the writers thinking putting that song in an emotional sequence? Jesus. I didnt even get that either as a kid, and it really shouldn’t have been placed there. Thankfully, the beginning song “Great Spirites” sunged by Tina Turner was great. She did a good job singing that song. That’s the only song I liked in this movie. The songs are forgettable and actually pointless in this movie. I give the songs three stars.
It may not be as bad as a lot of people say it is, but Brother Bear is an average movie that had a brilliant beginning and ending in terms of story and characters, while the middle half has the opposite of great with lousy execution, awkward pacing and atrocious characters. The animation however is the highlight of the movie. I would recommend this film if you want to know more about inuit culture or if you want to watch a movie about bears. Other than that, I wouldn’t recommend this film if you want to see a good film. I give this movie 6 stars out of 10.

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1 thought on “Brother Bear Review

  1. I don’t remember much of Brother Bear from when I saw it, aside from the emotional reunion between the brothers at the end and Phil Collins’ songs. It’s not a horrible movie, but it doesn’t really do much to stand out either. Just an average movie that couldn’t live up to the goals it tried to achieve.

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