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An improbable gem
I didn't go out of my way to see this film, as it had already been pretty much disregarded by both the critics and the public. Shame on me. BROTHER BEAR has many strengths to recommend it, and I hope it eventually finds an audience on video.

I'll admit a bias: I live in the Yukon Territory, and the story obviously takes place in next-door Alaska (with characters named "Sitka", "Kenai", and "Tanana", it's pretty obvious). Like many other Disney movies, it takes its inspiration from a traditional legend. Unlike many other Disney movies, this movie manages to remain respectful to the original legend.

The messages are wonderful. That love is an important thing for a real man to learn. That "the spirits" need to be respected. That vengeance can have a terrible price. This movie manages to do it (mostly) without resorting to daffy sidekicks and sappy tugs at the heartstrings. Yes, there's Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas revisiting their "Bob and Doug Mackenzie" roles as the two moose, but I didn't find them jarring at all. The story works.

So does the animation. This is a visually beautiful film. Yes, it's apparent to my (computer pro) eye that Disney's animation unit is making more use of computer techniques. Mostly, though, you see them used to wonderful effect, like making a realistic snowfall, or moving the point of view through a shot. The animation style is also very appropriate for the story. And as a northerner, I loved the many aurora shots; they looked spot-on.

Not everything in BROTHER BEAR worked for me, unfortunately. Phil Collins' music for TARZAN was quite good, but it mostly falls flat here (except maybe for "On My Way"). A couple of numbers come close to the embarassingly bad category.

Still, this is nowhere near enough for me to disregard this movie. I put it above THE LION KING (way above), probably a little ahead of TARZAN, and almost on the same upper-echelon with THE LITTLE MERMAID and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.
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Great Disney Fare. Pure & Simple!
paul sloan19 December 2003
I took my 8 year old daughter to see this and the cinema was packed full of kids. They loved it and I loved it too. It was like going back in time to seeing those old Disney movies of my youth such as the Jungle Book and The Aristocats. Brother Bear is one of those movies that is funny and moving at the same time and of an ideal length to hold the attention of a kid.Sure,the critics hated it probably because it is not as knowingly clever as Finding Nemo. Who cares? The proof of the movie's entertainment value was seeing all those kids in the cinema laughing and having fun. I do sit through an awful lot of garbage when I take my daughter to the movies. Finding something like Brother Bear makes it all worthwhile.The only negative factor was those songs by Phil Collins. Rotten is the only word to adequately describe them.If he wins an Oscar again, I will be annoyed.
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A perfect storm of artwork, story telling, and music guaranteed to rock your emotional boat.
mfranc-11 September 2004
First, I want to congratulate the creative team that developed and produced Brother Bear, which is truly an audio-visual masterpiece. The use of a classic story formula to tell a deeper more meaningful story within a story is nothing short of amazing. This feature is a perfect storm of artwork, story telling, and music guaranteed to rock your emotional boat.

Second, be patient! This feature requires several viewings to understand and to catch the symmetry and depth of the story within the story. Also you must watch the wide screen version, which is the best way to understand this feature's sub-story. The surface story is for the kids, the real story is for adults of all ages, however, I would preview first before showing to the extremely young or insecure as there are some dark themes presented here. So prepare yourself first, as this feature should spark some good family discussions.

If you take this feature at face value, you get a classic coming of age story touching on just about every major theme in literature. One can also make a case for when the Inuit's first bonded with the animal world as the alternate story, both of which are well told, however some folks might consider it repetitive or boring. Unfortunately, these folks missed the whole point of the feature.

The secret and beauty of this feature is to look beyond the classic Disney story and focus on the sub-text being used and you'll discover a deeper more inspiring story framed within the classic Disney formula. In other words don't take this feature at face value. To understand the sub-story, you need to pay attention to the use of metaphors as well as the clues within the songs. That's right, the songs are strongly tied to the sub-story. To start off with, the title song 'Great Spirits', tells us 'In a world that's not always as it seems'. This is a hint that this story is not what is seems as the Inuit's, Bears, Mammoths, Moose, and Rams are really metaphors for other things. Heck, even Rutt and Tuke's "I Spy" game had nothing to do with what they were describing. Uncover the metaphor of the mammoths and you'll discover the real story of Brother Bear. Once you do, you'll find that there is not one wasted scene in this feature. Even the clips in the trailer are connected.

So what we have is a story of Kenai's journey of discovery, not only of the world around him but of himself and how he fits into it. By the end of his journey, Kenai understands what his destiny is and embraces it. In doing so, he's knows he can make a difference in this world by being able to help Koda as well as being able to help his people avoid a tragic fate. That's right, the real message of this story has direct application to today's world.

Major morals from the story:

1) We are all brothers and sisters in this world.

2) See and understand the other person's point of view (even if you don't agree with it).

3) Tolerance

4) Being responsible for your actions.

5) Forgiveness and Redemption.

6) There is no greater love than the ability to sacrifice oneself for a friend.

7) To those ruled by hate and fear: ....a) No matter who you are or how talented you may be, you will not last long in this world. ....b) It's not wise to pick a fight with bears.

As far as sequels go, it will be hard to improve on a masterpiece. But if Disney pursues one, they have their work cut out for them, as they need to remain true to the real story of Brother Bear. However, I would strongly make a case for a spin-off for Rutt and Tuke as they have serious franchise potential with their moose appeal (whoops meant mass appeal) and drawing power. You either love them or you love to hate them, eh.

That about wraps it up so I think its time for some barley and hops all covered in dew (properly aged of course).

My score: ...Surface Story (10/10) ...Real Story (10/10) Wide screen version. ...Rutt/Tuke Commentary (8/10) Trample off! It couldn't have been way better, eh! ...Soundtrack (10/10)
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An excellent film utilizing a dying art form - animation by hand is still the best.
Though I think highly of the new three-dimensional computerized animated films, the traditional hand-drawn stuff just has a different charm. And whatever some people say, traditional animation is not dated. This cartoon's story is interesting, accurately based on real Inuit beliefs. Every component of it is great, and the scene where Koda discovers that Kenai is really a man is beautiful. Not going to give away the happenings behind this powerful, moving scene. The hand-drawn animation is done in the classical style, but the computer graphics are breathtaking. The waterfalls, the mountains, the Aurora Borealis... they're fantastic. The two McKenzie moose are great for comic relief. The characterization is great, and I like the Inuit priest. The brotherhood is something I can identify with perfectly - my three cousins are exactly the same. The music depends on preference. I think the opening Tina Turner song is OK, nothing special, but the Phil Collins songs are better. It's no Jungle Book, Oliver and Company or Lion King when it comes to the music department. I think Jeremy Suarez (seems familiar in the behind-the-scenes trailer) must be a pretty good actor. Koda's my favorite character in the movie. This cartoon is really great, and I'm torn between it and Finding Nemo for cartoon of the year. It's great entertainment, an interesting story told through a truly great, but dying, art form.
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2D animation is NOT dead
eyelovemickey3 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
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 last.

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 selfish, 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 back.

On this journey, he meets the comic relief of the show in the characters of 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 that 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, to give up what got you there is a shame, and in my opinion shows an amazing short sightedness.

Bear is long on beauty, fun, and terrific Phil Collins music that is sure to bring the studios another Oscar. `I'm On My Way' is out as a single (though I thought Collins' second song would be the money tune) and it's doing well. The only thing I couldn't figure out is why Tina Turner sings a song at the 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 singer.

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 timing 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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Pat Gear (pgear83)23 August 2004
Disney's penultimate traditionally animated feature proved to be one of its best. The film is loosely based on the mythology of the native people of the Pacific Northwest. It has many classic mythological elements such as transformations and journeys, both physical and spiritual. It is also unique among Disney films, in having no villain (at least in a tangible sense).

The movie features great music by Phil Collins and beautiful animation. It also makes novel use of the movie screen by switching to a wider aspect ratio at a certain point in the story.

The protagonist, the Inuit Kenai, learns the value of his totem, love, when he is transformed into a bear and becomes the traveling companion of the cub, Koda. The film also features the hilarious Canadian moose, Rutt and Tuke (Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas) for comic relief.

I would count Brother Bear among my three favorite animated films (along with South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron). It's also great for the kids. 10/10
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One of Disney's last gasps retains most of what made the studio great.
Sadly, Disney Feature Animation closes down after "Home on the Range." I'm waiting for Disney's last cartoon on DVD, but the subject of this review is "Brother Bear." This is the second last traditional Disney animated feature.

"Brother Bear" is a good story of love, sin, understanding, forgiveness and brotherhood, as the title suggests. It's set in Alaska in the time of the Inuit and the mammoth. Sitka, Denahi and Kenai are brothers (eldest first). After Sitka is killed by a bear, Kenai sets out to kill the bear, whilst Denahi doesn't blame the bear. Kenai kills the "monster," but Sitka, now a powerful spirit, turns Kenai into a bear to take the other's place and atone for his wrongdoing. Denahi thinks the bear has killed his other brother as well, and vows to track down Kenai and kill him. It is different from most other stories. The message is clear, the story straightforward, not muddled by subplots and separate story lines. The film tells a story that is just a fable. Fortunately, that's all it needs to be.

The animation isn't all that gorgeous, yet remains high quality. The bears are realistically depicted, all the animals are their true forms but for the caricature of their funniest features and habits. The forest, which is CG, is beautiful. The color and the realism of it is magnificent. But again, some of the computer effects don't work. The film was clearly trying to aim for something like the DreamWorks half-and-half pictures, with hand-drawn characters acting in photo-realistic environments and effects (i.e. "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" and "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas"). The water in "Brother Bear," in its early stages, looks nearly as bad as that in "The Jungle Book 2." It's flat, with a bit of shine, unlike the fast-flowing, moving torrents of other films. It just looks lame. Don't get me wrong, this is a minor mishap. The Cg layout looks fantastic.

Phil Collins did the score for this! What a surprise! NOT! The soundtrack for "Tarzan" was inspirational: the soundtrack for "Brother Bear" is varying and lackluster. The opening Tina Turner number is decent at best. Collins' songs, which form the bulk of the music in the film, have stupid lyrics, although his great voice saves it from being totally painful. The best song by far was sung by a Bolivian women's chorus, written by Colins. The lyrics for this song were better than the other songs', not bothering to include idiotic rhymes since the English words are never heard. The words were translated into Inuit. When at last the grand performance is over, you whisper: "Wow."

The characters are funny and not at all one-dimensional. Of the brotherhood, Sitka, who plays such a pivotal role, is the weakest. His character is no deeper than enough to make it clear he is brave, wise and self-sacrificing. Everyone's dream big brother to beat up the bad guys. Denahi and Kenai are have much more to them. They, of course, are the typical siblings that incessantly antagonize each other, their battles being a good source of comic relief. "Brother Bear" may have fallen flat on its face without the two distinctly Canadian moose brothers (notice the number of brothers in the film) that are by far the funniest of Disney's recent creations. They get cramps from eating grass and need to do yoga before starting, and spar to practice for the rutting season. Kenai reluctantly allows a young bear cub separated from his mother. This cub is Koda. Correction: The moose are the funniest SIDEKICKS from Disney in recent times. Koda is a lead player. He's funny, exceedingly better equipped to survive than his older chum, and most importantly: extremely cute.

So, does "Brother Bear" live up to the classics of old? Honestly, no, it doesn't. On the other hand, it doesn't exactly make it impossible for them to show their faces in public again. All in all, Disney hasn't ended a creative vacuum. But if you think about it, would Walt have approved? No. He wouldn't have. But what matters isn't how "Brother Bear" compares to other Disney films, but how much you enjoy it in a single viewing. Admittedly, it's funnier than any of than many older films. "Brother Bear" rating: 8/10
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Disney's last animated classic
Lupercali1 May 2004
Having (I think) seen all the Disney animated features, I would have to say that 'Brother Bear' is the finest Disney feature since 'The Fox and the Hound' - which is to say the best around 25 years. It's a shame, and a bit ironic, that this sudden return to form should happen now, after a string of 90's movies which were nearly all good, but rarely brilliant; and on the cusp of the death of the classical 'hand drawn' style of animation from the people who invented the animated feature.

At first I had misgivings. Particularly when I heard Inuit using valley girl phrases - but these reservations disappear quickly enough (as indeed, do the Inuit characters).

Briefly, 'Brother Bear' is about a young Inuit man who rejects his totem ('the Bear of Love'), and goes so far as to kill a bear which he somewhat erroneously blames for the death of his friend. He is then magically transformed into a bear, and the rest of the film... doesn't really matter at this stage: I don't want to spoil it.

There are only a few minor faults which prevent this from scoring a 10: the moose and ram characters are really pretty dispensable, but they don't take up much screen time. Koda, the bear cub, elicited a bit of an 'oh, no' response from at first, but he grows on you fast.

The animation, as you would expect, is well ahead of the field (at least in the 'classical' style). While it isn't perhaps quite as eye-popping and panoramic as 'The Lion King', I think this only goes to show that good storytelling will win out over superficial eye-candy covering a third-hand script.

The final scenes of the movie are genuinely surprising (there is a sort of stock surprise ending, followed by something I really didn't see coming), and at the same time, it's genuine lump in the throat stuff - something Disney seemed to have been a bit shy about lately with films like 'Atlantis'. They shouldn't be. They do it well.

I've enjoyed nearly all of Disney's prolific output of the past ten years, but this is the pick of the bunch, IMO. It's not perfect, but if this had been the film which Disney's animation dept had bowed out with, it would have been a fine swansong.
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Beauty and the "Bear"
EmperorNortonII12 December 2003
"Brother Bear" is the latest Disney feature to be done in hand-drawn animation. In it, a young hunter in the Pacific Northwest of the Ice Age is transformed into a bear to look at life from another perspective. The animation is beautifully done, depicting breathtaking scenes of nature. And things like a herd of caribou or a school of salmon were eye-catching. The story is fascinating, letting you know what it's like to go from being the hunter to being the hunted. Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis make funny cameos as Rutt and Tuke, a pair of moose patterned after their "MacKenzie Brothers" characters. The vignettes during the end credits are funny as well. So, "Brother Bear" offers a good example of what 2D animation can still do.
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a film that will capture your heart
bosscain1 November 2003
this movie was filled with disney magic,and typical disney story line. with happiness,satire and the death of a character.the wonderful "disney style" of animation makes this movie an instant classic.This movie has a special treat for real and true movie goers with a funny segment at the end of the credits,so sit back,listen to the music and you will be rewarded.
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Amazingly funny and entertaining!!
sigmanu24026 May 2004
Brother Bear seems to be following the mold for the newer Disney Movies. In an effort expand their horizons and take a look at more diverse and different cultures, Brother Bear takes a look at early American Indian culture. The story involves Kenai is the youngest of three brothers and feels he must prove himself to the tribe in an effort to get a mighty animal as his totem. What he gets is an experience of life as a bear after a tragedy befalls his family. He meets many different animals along the way including two moose whose voices are portrayed by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas and who revise their roles and Doug and Bob Mckenzie those two crazy Canadians. They as well as some rams on a mountain top and the young Koda, Kenai's bear companion are very funny. I found myself laughing out loud by myself.
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Gorgeous to look at, with an awesome soundtrack and a heartwarming story. Has its minor flaws, but it is VERY underrated
TheLittleSongbird1 December 2009
I wasn't expecting to enjoy Brother Bear as much as I did. It is by far one of the better post-Tarzan Disney movies, along with Emperor's New Groove and Lilo and Stitch. I do think it is very underrated, apart from a couple of minor flaws there is hardly anything wrong with it. So what makes Brother Bear a delight? Well for one thing, the animation is simply gorgeous. Beautiful colours, stunning backgrounds and next to flawless character movement. Out of the post-Tarzan Disney movies, Brother Bear gets my vote as the most beautiful visually.

Another pro was the awesome soundtrack. The orchestral music is lovely, and Phil Colins's songs are every bit as catchy, fun and memorable as the ones he did for Tarzan. The film also has a heartwarming story, concentrating on the friendship between Kenai and Koda and there is a nice moral. There is also a lot of symbolism, that was incorporated into the narrative very well. The characterisations are strong, with Joaquin Pheonix superb as the voice of Kenai, and Koda(voiced by Jeremy Suarez) is a simply adorable character. Plus the MacKenzie Moose, voiced by Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis were hilarious. There are some funny parts in the script, but quintessentially it is a heartwarming one, maybe even some tearjerkers.

I have very little to complain about this movie. Though had this movie been a tad longer, we could have had some more development in the secondary characters. My only other qualm was although the songs in general were awesome, the song sung by Tina Turner at the beginning wasn't quite in the same league. Other than that, this is a great underrated movie, not Disney's best, but you know what, it is well worth the look. 8.5/10 Bethany Cox
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A breath of fresh air.
Kanawi28 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
No, it's not one of those older Disney "classics," but I loved the film to death. It has believable characters, beautiful animation, a good storyline, decent music, and best of all (or at least, the most refreshing of all) is that its humour and dialogue aren't overdone like you see so often. It has good messages and memorable scenes.

As far as a plot overview, if you don't want your children to see a 'gorey' movie, despite a lack of blood and apparent injury, you should stay away from this film. Within the first fifteen minutes, both the main character's older brother and a bear die. The movie also accepts occult ideas concerning religion, as there are spirits that live in the sky rather than a single god (which are capable of creating great changes) and instances where it embraces the idea of karma. But overall, this movie is as cute and cuddly as the bears it follows. It won't screw up your kids.

The animation in this film is beautiful. I'm a fan of the old style of drawing it on paper, then inking, then painting, as opposed to all of this Pixar-style crap Disney's been spewing out lately (and no, Pixar movies are good, but Disney CGI films are baaaad). This style is all but dead, and Brother Bear is supposedly the second to last film to be hand-drawn. Appreciate it.

I admit that some of the music was a bid... odd. Phil Collins, being the main player in that department, does a decent job singing, but the lyrics were kind of, well, stupid. The best song is the one sung in Inuit, if that makes a difference.

I don't want to say more in case you're reading this despite the spoiler warning. The bottom line is, this movie is great. I love it. It's one of my favourite Disney movies, and trust me, it's much better than you may think if you're of the belief it's just another "get rich quick" film. Buy it, watch it with your kids, and enjoy it. You won't be disappointed.
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A film ahead of its time.
Blueghost4 May 2015
Brother Bear is a real superb fable with many a social theme coursing through it. Relations between different social groups and the value people and animals hold dear to one another are transcendent. This film knows this, and shows us so.

I have to be honest, I didn't think much of "Brother Bear" when I first saw the ads for it on TV all those years ago. I dismissed it as another Disney film which probably catered to kids, probably had high production values, and probably had some kind of story about a Native American turning into a bear via Disney magic.

It's all those things, but it is so much more. Often our social cliques dictate to use what we assume other people must be like, and when we see someone who looks different from ourselves, we wonder if they actually are different. Otherwise a lot of us assume that other people simply operate they way we do, and get along as we do. It creates rifts in society that can spill over into violent social outrage.

"Brother Bear" takes a page from the spiritual, and uses that plot device to propel the story forward to give one of the humans a taste of what it's like to walk int he footsteps of "the opposition".

This Disney production, like a few other Disney productions, does not spare the talent. From the screenplay, which is coursing with great dialogue, story moments, focusing around a great premise that has ramifications world wide, to the voice talent, to the superb traditional animation style that only Disney can deliver to audiences. The result really is a superb film.

A magnificent parable that not only has exceptional high production values we come to expect from Disney animation, not only has good leads for the voice talent, but also has Bob and Doug McKenzie reincarnated as a couple of moose from "the great white north" (take off, eh!). For them alone I had to see this film. Their commentary and actual roles in the film are G-Rated Disney fare (no beer jokes here, eh),

Further, the themes in this Disney film really do touch the hearts of all creatures and people. Even if you're a die hard scientist and atheist like myself, you'll come to understand that even though you know that the concept of ghost or spirits is a nonstarter to begin with, it is the process of looking to the beyond ("super-natural") that ultimately leads us to look to our own more rational judgment, and how said good sound judgment on matters of the heart stemming from our feelings, is a strength. The film really does go after divisions between the races, sexes and nationalities, though uses our own primal paleolithic history to bring forth such a tale.

If I had any real criticisms of this film, and I can't say that I truly and honestly do, it's that we didn't see more creatures of the era. We aren't sure if we're seeing vaunted cavebears (larger than the largest grizzly and polar bears), we saw woolly mammoths and woolly bison, but we didn't see dire wolves, woolly rhinos nor some of the other animals of an era long gone ago. But, as with all negatives about this film, that's nitpicking.

All in all a superb Disney film. Watch by yourself, with friends, or with the family.

Enjoy as much of it as you can.
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An adorable...
Taylor Kingston15 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I don't know why this movie got bad reviews. I think it is an adorable children's movie with funny moments and real-life moral dilemmas and situations. It is relatable, whilst at the same time, goes off in a way that is more make-believe.

This movie is about Kenai, a man who resents all bears, after his brothers get into a fight with one, and is sadly killed. I don't like Kenai's attitude towards bears at the beginning of the movie. After all, the bear was just protecting itself, just like any human would. Kenai is then turned into a bear to see what it's like to be in a bears "shoes". He sees life from a new and different perspective and realizes that not it really wasn't the bears fault. On his journey, he meets an adorable bear cub, Koda, who is trying to find his way home. Meanwhile, Kenai's other brother worries that he has been killed by the bears, until he comes face-to-face with bear Kenai.

Overall, I give this movie an 8 out of 10.
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liampaulmassey25 October 2014
This review is not a spoiler, I love the film and everything, It is a great movie and is a great story. It also has very good animated graphics It is one of those films where you can watch it again on the same day or again straight after, The three brothers remind me of when I was younger. Me being the oldest and my two brothers and me, and has loving music in it, I'm one of those people who actually listens to movie tunes while I'm out in the day but on the bonus features where they mention a song called 'This can't be my destiny' by Phil Collins that to this day is still unreleased, they let you hear five seconds of the song but straight away I love the tune and I wish they could of added it as a bonus track on the official brother bear soundtrack album that I have
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A great masterpiece of a film
almanjit2517 February 2013
I have learned that sometimes critics have their heads up their a**es and their prejudice, arrogance and jaded perspectives make them disregard anything with pure heart and emotion and love, praise and adore mindless fart humor and depravity. If you are one of those people who loves what critics say and can't form your own opinion, you'll probably have a preconceived opinion of this movie so disregard my review. Also if you hate stories that teach and educate and make you inspire to be a better person, disregard the rest of this review.

This film is a breathtaking, emotional roller coaster of intellect,wit, pure heart and moral. It takes you on an astonishing journey filled with soul. It is visual eye-candy, epic and breathtaking. The vividness of the colors and brush strokes actually takes you on a magical enchanting journey and leaves you awestruck with its beauty. So yeah the animation is AMAZING!

The voicing by the actors is so fitting and they do a marvelous job. Effortlessly so if i may add.

The music is pretty amazing and in fact adds to the amazement of the story. It carries the emotion of the story. Most people listen to the instrumentals instead of the words. Try listening to the words and they will carry you on an immensely emotional and feeling ride. The words add to the story and the characters thoughts. Wonderful. Not particularly the best ever in terms of instrumentals, but the words and their meaning make up for this ten-fold. The transformation song and "On My Way" were a particular delight.

Now to the story which i feel is the most important thing: It is firstly educational and takes a more cultural turn by taking you through the mythology of the Inuits and way of life. It is a different time and culture and it is both awe-inducing and educating. Not for people who prefer films like Shrek or Simpsons. Now the emotional depth of this film can make you weep throughout as it showcases love, arrogance, prejudice, intolerance, tolerance, pain, death, family, darkness and finally light. It transcends above nearly all films in terms of emotions and heart. It is heart-breaking and tear inducing as it showcases human cruelty and arrogance. A subject people will really dislike or feel in denial about. It showcases pain and heartache like no animation does these days since people prefer the superficial. It shows the themes that are present today such as intolerance, arrogance and sheer heartlessness. And finally it shows a journey of education not only in terms of cultural differences but learning that intolerance and preconceived notions are imbecilic, it is about responsibility, it teaches the importance of stepping into another's shoes and feeling what they feel as well as learning the power of love. It is very intelligent so very few will get or be able to understand and appreciate its messages. And plus if you hate emotion, education and being taught valuable life lessons or feel you are too superior for them, you will not like this movie. Otherwise if you are intelligent and have a heart, you will adore it as i have.

Definitely one of my favorite animated films and i've seen over 200. Actually it is one of my favorite films period, not just from the animated ones. A masterpiece and i know i will get hate for saying this but it is the truth, this movie is way better than several Pixar films which are good visuals but superficial story lines that don't capture heart, horrors of the world and emotion as Disney films of the past do. I said several Pixar films and not all. Up, Wall-E and Monsters Inc are masterpieces and Brother Bear is in their league of excellence. Though it is way way way more magical and beautiful than the Toy Story Trilogy, Brave, The Incredibles, Cars and Finding Nemo. I have watched this film every year since i was a kid when it released and it has still not lost its magic and that is the true mark of a pure classic, one that will never lose its charm.
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This is Disney the way I like it!
Boba_Fett11386 December 2005
This is finally again a good old fashioned 2D-animated Disney movie that reminds me of some of the classic Disney's. It's a movie that has an heart and warm feeling and is perfect as good clean family entertainment.

I don't think that "Brother Bear" will grow into becoming a Disney classic, it's too formulaic and unoriginal for that but it however is still one of the few recently made movies that has this typical old Disney feeling, with a warm story and atmosphere. Like I said before, the story isn't terribly original and is some typical Disney stuff that already has been shown in some of their previous movies but it doesn't hold "Brother Bear" back from being a good movie but that didn't ruin the movie for me in any way.

The animations are simply great and the environment and the characters look fantastic. The characters themselves might not be the best, most fun and/or most memorable out of Disney history, they are still fun and easy to relate with. I can't say that I'm too happy about the casting of Joaquin Phoenix. I like him as an actor but he hasn't got exactly a good voice for an animated movie.

The movie might be at times a bit too scary for children and at times a bit too childish for adults but overall the movie in general is a perfect clean family fun entertaining one for all ages.

The fantastic music is from Mark Mancina and Phill Collins, who after "Tarzan" teamed up again for this movie.

It's a warm and entertaining movie for the entire movie. This is Disney the way I like it! Still the movie is a times too formulaic and it will not grow into becoming a Disney classic though.

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Morgan B.7 July 2005
This is an excellent Disney movie that I cannot wait to see a sequel to. I knew I would love this film as soon as I saw the trailer. I have always liked movies with a setting somewhere in the mountains, northwoods, etc. I first heard of this movie while I was in Idaho, getting ready to go camping in the National Forest, (September 03') and I really wanted more info on the movie, but the people we were staying with did not have internet running and I saw the trailer about 10 minutes before we left. So the entire time I was camping, I seriously wanted to know about that movie, and it nearly killed me (when I see a preview for a movie I want to see, and don't have access to information on it, WATCH OUT!) and when I finally did get on the Disney website, I wanted to see the movie even more, and when I did see it, I was not disappointed.
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Just my 2 cents...
rgaleano12 May 2004
I was surprised to see that the average vote on IMDB for Brother Bear was between 6 and 7! This is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen (and from Disney I have seen them all because I am the proud mother of two kids aged 6 and 5). Brother Bear celebrates a long lost and forgotten ethic value in our postmodern society: TOLERANCE. To put our prejudices and preconceived ideas aside, and to dare to step into the other's shoes undoubtedly will help us discover a whole new world of logic and values, of culture and ideas that indeed shape the other person's way of life and behavior, and are as valid as our own. Each other's recognition leads to each other's respect. What a wonderful world this would be if everyone recognized the existence of that very thin line that separates each other's world. I cannot think of a more effective way to erradicate intolerance. The soundtrack is also very moving and I particularly love Phil Collins' "On my way" and "Take a look through my eyes". Just my 2 cents about this wonderful movie!
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donna126115 April 2004
the film was absoluetly fantastic. The characters were amazing and they were very amusing.

It is by far, the best (disney) film ever to be made- well thats my opinion anyway! ! ! :) i suppose it does help that im a moose fan therefore rutt and tuke were awesome. the sound tracks were great, phil collins really did live up to expectations and he played a big part in the films success. film companies have got to work miracles to beat this film, i just hope theres gonna be a brother bear 2, with more mooses in :p
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I always wanted a brother.
Skycoaster19 May 2004
This movie truly touched me, and apparently many others, as it is

one of the best animated movies I've ever seen. Never having a

brother myself, I found that for the eighty-five minutes I was treated

to a wonderful tale of friendship and fraternity, an experience I

enjoyed so much that I've watched over again twice this week. The

one thing that this movie has done that others have come close to

accomplishing but failed to do so is inspire me to actually be a

better person. The wonderful transformation of Kenai from his

intolerant form into a person who has seen the world through the

eyes of the monster he came to hate so much really affected me in

such a way that now I make my greatest attempt to treat everyone

in the way I would want to be treated- like a brother. Everyone says that the music makes the movie worse, and that it

should have been toned down, but I disagree. The mood is purely

set by some great tunes and a wonderful score by Phil Collins,

Tina Turner, and others. To get me through a particularly stressful

day, I just remember my friends, and how they're like brothers to

me, and I hum the "Welcome" song. It just inspires me. Visuals? Eye Candy? Check. The use of colors is like some thing

out of a very artistic dream. The light created by the tones seem to

come out of the screen and surround whomever should see them

in an aura of florid mist. Compare this to Finding Nemo, which

really doesn't show that much splendor and beauty, and I'll gladly

watch this. Overall this movie has everything a children's movie should have,

and much more. Children will laugh at the jokes supplied by the

movie's comic relief, two highly-Canadian Moose, yet the humor is

not so jejune that adult will feel uncomfortable watching it with or

without their children. The message is one anyone can understand; that before you judge, review the situation as your

adversary would see it. It has a great message, with a wonderful

cinematic experience, and all-together,a wonderful movie, which

gets a ten out of ten on my scale.

Great job, Disney, and thank you.
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Well-animated and beautifully executed film which is good but flawed
Robert Reynolds15 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This film was nominated for the Academy Award for Animated Feature, losing to Finding Nemo. There will be spoilers ahead:

As is almost a given with any Disney animation, the animation and the overall look of the film is nothing short of breathtaking. That's a good thing for any Disney project (The Mouse is very good at this after doing it for this long) but it's particularly helpful here, because the plot's just a touch thin. My view of the film is colored by the fact that I can't stand the lead character, Kenai. The plot is largely driven by Kenai's being an immature idiot for most of the film.

The film is framed by a segment which is a retelling of the story after the fact. There are three brothers-Sitka, Denahi and Kenai. Kenai is about to find out what his totem animal will be. Sitka's is the eagle and Denahi's is the owl. Kenai, being an impetuous overgrown kid at heart, is certain his totem will be something fierce and grand. In the beginning of the film (shot in a different aspect ration than the last hour or so, to set the two sections apart visually) Kenai does foolish things rashly and without considering the consequences.

When the time comes to find out what his totem animal is, Kenai is disappointed that it's the bear of love. He dislikes bears even before this and likes them even less now. When a bear gets into a store of fish, largely because Kenai is careless and impetuous, he sets out after the basket the fish were in. His brothers go after him to keep him out of trouble and Sitka is killed in the process. Denahi clearly blames Kenai for this.

Kenai hunts the bear and kills it. The Spirits, his brother Sitka now among them, choose to transform Kenai into a bear, so that he can atone for this and learn what he must learn in order to grow up. Denahi, not knowing that the bear is Kenai, thinks Kenai has been killed and proceeds to hunt him in his guise as a bear.

In flight from his brother, Kenai encounters Koda, a bear cub. Koda helps Kenai out of a trap and they start journeying to the salmon hunt, which is near where the Spirit lights are. Kenai also runs into the film's comedy relief-two moose, brothers voiced by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, who reprise their old Doug and Bob McKenzie routine. I thought it was funny, but I'm old enough to remember when it was new.

As Kenai spends more time with Koda on the way to the hunt and then later with the bears in a community, he begins to understand things he didn't before. The sections with the bears are particularly nice visually.

The last twenty minutes of the film is very information-dense and feels a bit rushed. I don't want to spoil the last part of the film, so I won't discuss what happens. One word of advice-watch all the way through to the end, after the closing credits. There's a really good closing bit with Koda.

This film is available on DVD and Blu-Ray and is worth getting. Recommended.
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The right movie that came at wrong time.
lyy199217 July 2014
Brother Bear is such a heart touching and educational movie that can't be missed. However Finding Nemo won the Academy Award because of it is in 3D, well that was something special at that time. Compared to graphics, hand drawn animation was a little outdated at 2003, however the storytelling and music score are beyond compare. After The Lion King, I believe this is the only hand drawn animation that shows the importance of family. As the name suggest, brotherhood is obviously the greatest element in the story. No matter Kenai is in the bear form or human form, brotherhood is always there. He never realized the feelings of bear until he managed to kill one of it, which is Koda's mother, and later his brother bear. Whilst Denahi, Kenai's human brother, set out to take vengeance as he assumed Kenai was killed by a bear, in which the bear is Kenai himself transformed by spiritual power. That kind of misunderstanding is something that's always happening between brothers and sisters in real life. And the story can make a heart-melting ending (which made me cry). If it is shown up earlier, maybe 3 years earlier, or different time with Finding Nemo, it can gain much more positive response, because I believe that good story is the main element that makes an animated movie unforgettable.
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Underrated Tale from Disney
Michael_Elliott4 May 2014
Brother Bear (2003)

*** (out of 4)

Underrated Disney film about a Inuit hunter (voice of Joaquin Phoenix) who kills a bear without cause and ends up being transformed into a bear where he must help a young cub who has lost its mother. In order to take human form again, the bear must grow a heart and learn the true meaning of love. BROTHER BEAR seems to get a lot of mixed reviews among Disney fans but I really don't understand why because I thought it was a pretty good film with several memorable characters, some good laughs, the needed pulling of the heart-strings and of course some great animation. I really thought the animation here was quite wonderful from the opening scenes that were full of darkness to the middle of the picture when things are a lot more colorful. The attention to detail was just marvelous and especially the scenes early on with the ice, the flowing water and several scenes inside a cave. There lights in the sky were another impressive bit of animation from the studio who were obviously legends by now. Another major plus were the vocal performances with Phoenix doing an extremely good job in the role of the bigger brother who takes on this young cub. You can just really feel a love and naturing feeling to the vocal work. Jeremy Suarex, Rick Moranis and D.B. Sweeney are also very good in their supporting roles. As you'd expect, there's certain messages that the filmmakers try to get across and I think they did a fine job without having to beat the viewer over the head. The ending, which I won't spoil, was quite touching as only Disney can do. Again, I'm really not sure why this film got so many negative reviews but it's certainly a winning addition to the studio's great work.
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