A long time ago, three Inuit brothers named Kenai (Joaquin Phoenix), Denahi (Jason Raize), and Sitka (D.B. Sweeney) return to their village so that Kenai can receive his sacred totem, an item that will guide him to be a man. Kenai gets a little upset to find that his is a bear representing love. After that, a bear manages to steal some salmon he and his brothers caught and Kenai recklessly goes after it. During the fight, Sitka gives his life to save Kenai's and Denahi's, but the bear survives. Vengeful, Kenai goes after the bear and kills it on a mountain top. Angered by this act of unnecessary violence, Sitka's spirit arrives and transforms his brother into a bear in order to learn a lesson. The next day, Kenai finds out he's a bear and gets advice from the shaman woman of his village to go back to the mountain top in order to change back. He tries to get help from some animals like two moose brothers Rutt and Tuke (Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas. By the way, if you get this casting reference, you are awesome!) but they are less than helpful. He later gets caught in a trap and is saved by a talkative cub named Koda (Jeremy Suarez) who got separated from his mother and is on his way to a salmon run which happens to be next to where Kenai needs to go. The two agree to travel together and constantly bump into Denahi, who thinks that Kenai as a bear is the bear who he thinks killed Sitka and his presumably dead brother. They at last make it to the salmon run, where Kenai finds out on accident that the bear he killed as a man was Koda's mother. He tells Koda the truth later, but Koda runs off in grief, leaving Kenai on his own. Denahi confronts Kenai on the mountain, but their fight is intervened by Koda who steals Denahi's hunting pike. Kenai goes to Koda's aid out of love, prompting Sitka to appear and turn him back into a human, much to Denahi and Koda's surprise. However, Kenai asks Sitka to transform him back into a bear so he can stay with Koda. Sitka complies, and Koda is reunited briefly with the spirit of his mother, before she and Sitka return to the Spirits. In the end, Kenai lives with the rest of the bears and gains his title as a man, through being a bear.
I'm going to be honest here: I was hooked on this film during the first 20 minutes. I liked these characters and I was getting into the mythology and the culture of the tribe (Which may or may not be correct). The whole time I was thinking, "By God! This is what Pocahontas should have been!" I was getting invested with what was going on. Even when Sitka dies, I was kind of hurt by that! And as Denahi is hunting for the bear who's really Kenai, he wants vengeance too. We could relate with this clause and sense the passion and love he has for his brother, hence why he's going to such violent measures for revenge. In a clever bit of writing, there's no villain, just a big misunderstanding. To be honest, it's a good setup! I was honestly surprised to say the least!
|These three are great together!|
|Trust me, he'll change that face in the end!|
|"We'll show ya how to get free beer, eh?"|
So with the dull, predictable plot, modern-day references, and Phil Collins songs, you'd think I'd hate this film. Well, not exactly. Like I said before, the story has a good setup. It had a great beginning and a great ending. But the middle of the film is where all the problems lie. To be honest, it could have been much worse, like the next film I have to review. But talk about being so close and yet so far! Maybe with some rewriting, it could have been great. And like I said, it's cool to see some culture in a Disney film. So yes, the beginning and end are wonderful, the middle can suck it. There's a slim chance that I might watch the film again, but I am content I saw it at least once. Brother Bear isn't as bad as Rotten Tomatoes says, so hopefully you can take what I said, look up the trailer, and see if this is up your alley. With that said, take a look and see for yourself.