Animation, Harry Potter, Acting, Sitcoms
Animation that I love:
Lion King, Wallace and Gromit and Kung-Fu Panda
Brother Bear is one of the most underrated Disney films I have ever seen (not on this site but regarding the public).
There are a few mature themes in this film, such as vengeance, and it’s rare to see a Disney film where the main protagonist has the blood of an innocent on his hands (I know it becomes “paws” later on but don’t send any e-mails correcting me, please) but like many of the more darker Disney films, it is balanced out with the Disney-ish charm that we remember from films like The Lion King. When I first heard that the plot was about a hunter called Kenai who wanted vengeance against the bear who killed his brother, I expected the bear to be your typical Disney villain, whom Kenai would meet later on, but when given the chance to have his vengeance, he remembers everything that he’s learnt from Koda and the other bears and shows mercy (but in typical Disney fashion, the bear gets himself killed anyway. Deep, dark precipice anybody?) And everyone lives happily ever after. End of story, credits roll, curtains close, don’t forget to put your rubbish in the bin on the way out. But, surprisingly, the story was not like that.
The story was more complex than normal Disney films. I was pleasantly surprised that the villain was not a homicidal bear, a Clayton-esque hunter or a sabre-tooth tiger (Need I go on?) It really depends on what you view as a villain. This isn’t your typical “nature is good, man is bad” story. Kenai and Denahi are shown to be mixtures of good and bad. Kenai is shown to be just as much a loving brother as Denahi and Sitka, but he is an arrogant “fat-head” and it’s his arrogance that leads to Sitka’s death. Then Denahi says “I don’t blame the bear,” but Kenai is just too full of himself to realise that. Denahi’s hunt for the bear he believes to have killed both his brothers is motivated not by arrogance but by his grief alone, which makes his descent into hell all the more tragic. So we are given the two ways in which a person can become the villain, it can be as a result of sin (in this case pride and wrath) or that we let our emotions blind us to reason.
This does not however make Kenai a completely negative character. When he becomes a bear, it’s his naivety to the animal kingdom, his cockiness ending him up in trouble and his relationship with Koda adds humour to the story and even after all he’s done, it makes us feel a certain amount of sympathy for him.
Koda was just a joy to watch and just as brilliantly acted. We all know a Koda, someone who can be annoying to the point where if he carried on any longer you may just do something regrettable with a spear, but deep down we can’t help but love him. His constant chattering never made me hate him and during Kenai’s confession, his reaction, no matter how predictable, got me right there.
Rutt and Tuke were actually more funny than I expected. They are not sidekicks in the popular sense of the word, they just pop in and out of the story. The moments when they do appear are timed just right as they always seem to appear when the story gets too serious. Another positive factor is that they play an important part in helping Kenai and Koda (even if is unintentional). I believe Rutt and Tuke to be the best comic relief characters in a Disney film since Timon and Pumbaa. (I highly recommend the Moose Commentary on the DVD.)
If there is one bad thing I have to say about the film, it’s the song “On My Way.” “Great Spirits” and “Welcome” were songs I could listen to all day, the “Transformation” song was spectacular and “No Way Out” was emotionally gripping. Whereas, it’s debatable as to whether these songs were put in their just for the sake of a song, “On My Way” certainly was. It helped lifted the mood certainly, but it still felt like the story could have gone perfectly well without it.
All in all, Brother Bear is a film that I recommend to kids and to animation enthusiasts such as myself. It’s not The Lion King, but it has that story’s gift to make you laugh and/or cry.