Written By Tab Murphy, Lorne Cameron, David Hoselton,
Steve Bencich and Ron J. Friedman
Composed By Phil Collins and Mark Mancina
Produced By Chuck Williams
Edited By Tim Mertens
Directed By Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker
When the trailer for 'Brother Bear' came out, people were left completely uninterested...which probably explains why it apparently didn't do very well at the box office because what begins with you being blown away by the likable cast of human characters and getting invested in their myths being accompanied by the beautiful animation and music to the point where you wish that other Disney films like 'Pocahontas' had done this years ago all goes downhill when the main character turns into a bear. Now, I didn't have a problem with the main character turning into a bear to learn a lesson...but what they do with it however is about as predictable and boring and lame as you can imagine. Now that fifteen years have gone by, is there more to this movie than meets the eye or is there something I'm truly missing? Let's find out, this is 'Brother Bear'!
Kenai is a young and brave Indian with a particular distaste for bears...and when his brother Sitka is killed by one, Kenai in turn kills the bear only to be magically transformed into one himself. To make matters worse, his other brother Denahi vows to kill the bear Kenai has become. Kenai's only hope is a magical mountain where he believes he can be changed back to a human and he enlists a real bear cub named Koda to get him there.
In a clever bit of writing, there is no real villain but instead just a great big misunderstanding because Denahi wants to kill the bear that he doesn't know is Kenai for a reason we can all understand: he wants revenge for what he believes killed his brother. While we can see that it is mislead, we can sense the love and the passion for his brother hence why he is going to such violent needs-in fact, this whole story turned out to be a pretty good setup when you really think about it with having both a good beginning and ending. But like I said earlier, the middle is where the problems come from when the animals start talking and that's when it gets really annoying since the timeless language that the humans were using is now replaced with things like 'dude' or 'I spy' and they even pinkie swear while doing all sorts of other modern day things that people do...I'm sorry, that's really distracting due to making us not connect as well to the characters like what we saw before the transformation with their culture and their legends especially with the character of Koda-you have to be really careful with kid characters that are trying to act tough because that can either turn out really annoying or really charming and Koda unfortunately falls into the category of annoying.
At first, I was surprisingly getting into the music because I dreaded seeing that Phil Collins was attached to this movie and yet the opening number 'Great Spirits' was really getting me into this film. But when we got to 'On My Way', it's like Phil Collins just couldn't stay out of his usual routine and I still tried to believe that he was doing something similar to what he did with 'Tarzan' where he's not trying to ruin any particular moment in the film despite his annoyance...and then we got to 'No Way Out' where Kenai is telling Koda about what happened to his mother with Phil Collins singing over the entire sequence-I'm sorry, but this is the worst placement for a song that I've ever seen in any Disney film and it leaves me wondering why they didn't just use a orchestral score in place of Phil Collins yet again telling you how to feel about the scene taking place right in front of you! Really, Phil...really?!
Between the obvious plot that everyone can easily figure out to the modern talk to the Phil Collins songs, you'd really think I hate 'Brother Bear' and...yeah, I really do hate parts of it...but damn it, those other parts are so good-talk about being so close and yet so far! I guess there isn't anything morally wrong that is being said and I guess it could be worse if they decided to just quote random movies, but...ugh, we were so close to having a perfect Disney film and yet the modern talk and Phil Collins destroyed this movie's chances. I guess I didn't really expect anything to come out of this movie and...for the good parts that it did have, it's great to see that Disney can still get some culture in their animated films whether that culture is true or not. For that reason, I'm gonna give 'Brother Bear' a 5.5 out of 10...probably wouldn't see it again, but I am glad that I saw it at least once.