I’ll just give a warning before reading this review. If you like Brother Bear you probably don’t want to read further because I did not. It had such potential but everything about it was a failure. So, if reading a review of someone who dislikes something you like is an unpleasant experience for you than STOP READING NOW!
In 2003 I went on a mission for my church so for 2 years I didn’t see any movies and with new movies coming out when I came home I never really got to play catch up. Sure I watched the 3rd Harry Potter movie, The Incredibles and Return of the King but that was about it in the 2003-2005 era. If one had a bad reputation I skipped it and moved on. Brother Bear was one of those films and I hate to say it but I’m glad I did.
I’m sorry guys but this movie stinks.
Literally every choice I would have advised them to reconsider. Everything from the yogi bearish 2D characters on top of the deep canvas which looked strange, the odd voice cast, the underwhelming songs, the uber-predictable story, the painful attempts at humor and the incredibly unlikable lead character made it a very unpleasant experience. Honestly I’m struggling to find anything I like about this one.
Unfortunately I’m not the most witty writer in the world (at least I can admit it unlike the writers of this movie…) but my friend over at Disney Movie Year wrote a very funny review of Brother Bear. He liked it about as much I did…
It is obvious from the start of the movie Brother Bear tries to recycle themes, characters even whole scenes from Lion King, Pocahontas, Tarzan, Treasure Planet, and more. One article I read (information was fairly sparse on this one) said
“Michael Eisner informed the animation department that he wanted a movie about bears. What about bears? The fact that they are readily marketable, in Stepakoff’s estimation. Various ideas were kicked around – “bear King Lear”, “bear Antigone”, none of which came to fruition, surprisingly.
I mean, by God, if “the CEO wants to sell teddy bears” isn’t going to inspire writers to do their best work, what on Earth possibly could? (http://antagonie.blogspot.com/2009/12/disney-animation-well-and-truly-im-on.html)
Well said but even a commercial cash grab can turn out interesting as Disney has proven many times (think Robin Hood) but the choices they made are so strange.
Everything in the movie looked odd to me. The way the characters are designed on top of the Deep Canvas background always felt off. Also the voice casting never seemed to fit.
The songs are super lame and who thinks ‘Intuit bear story’ and then ‘I’ll hire Tina Turner’? I don’t get it? That makes no sense? There were so many strange choices like that.
The story is so predictable. Every time it took the obvious turn I groaned at the screen. And the sentimental moments are not earned by the characters. I don’t believe the journey they are on or even understand why it is completely necessary. I mean does every teenager who mouths off and acts in anger get turned into a bear in the world of this story? Even if you accept his punishment, I saw no change or growth and the events on their road trip are so obvious and so predictable they bored me to the point I kept checking the time left on the netflix stream….It wouldn’t speed up but seemed to have a half an hour left for 3 hours….
Just bad choices all around. The dialogue is awful. The script feels childish and a lot of times we are introduced to characters and then we never hear form them again. Something usually isn’t funny if we have just met a character. Honestly the script left me aghast at it’s stupidity. I expect better from Disney! (No wonder this only has 32% on Rotten tomatoes…)
For example, there is a line in the movie where the two moose are playing ‘I spy’ and they go back and forth spying things and I kept waiting for the joke. There was no joke!! It was just a 2 minute bit of dialogue playing I spy and I guess that’s supposed to be funny? And I guess talking ‘Canadian’ and saying hosier a lot is also supposed to be funny? It certainly didn’t make me laugh.
There were so many befuddling moments like that? Why attempt to treat the Intuit culture so carefully at the beginning and then have modern voices speaking the way modern teens would speak? That was so distracting. There’s one scene where some billygoats who are introduced and forgotten about in like 2 minutes, say shut up 7 times. Is that supposed to be funny characters saying shut up a lot?
Aladdin could get away with modern voiced characters because there was no attempt to be authentic to Arabic culture. Same with Hercules.
The other huge problem is the lead character is so unlikable. I started to watch after a while (I was so bored) to see when we finally get a smile from Kenai. Literally 1 hr 2 minutes before a smile. He is so winy and for things that don’t seem so bad. It’s not like they are stuck in terrible weather or life is miserable? And at the beginning, so he got a love totem? Is that really such a shameful thing? What a cliche for the male character to hate love and kindness. Groan…It seemed so immature for someone having been officially made a man to be continually harping on it.
He is either angry, bitter, or complaining the whole movie. This made his transformation at the end completely unbelievable. The relationship between Koda and Kenai doesn’t feel earned as he goes from hating him to loving him in literally one conversation and musical montage. I realize Tarzan kind of does this but the montage shows weeks of interaction and sharing. This is literally a song and them frolicking in the woods. There’s no sense of time elapsing or growth of characters. And even when he finally smiles he is still kind of a grump. I don’t know when I’ve disliked a lead character more in any movie, Disney or not ..
I could keep going but really this movie sucks. I think Bongo is a better bear movie…
I’m sorry if I offend people who like it but I thought every choice they made was wrong. Even the pretty scenery was ruined by the Saturday morning cartoons they placed on top of it. And that’s an insult to Saturday morning cartoons…
I’ll say it again but I really thought this movie sucked and it had such potential, so I’m not inclined to be easy on it. Badly done!
Overall Grade- F
Just to show I’m not alone on this one Rotten tomatoes bottom 2 is Brother Bear and Chicken Little of the Disney Canon. They are the only 2 movies in the 30 percentages (which is pretty amazing when you think about it). Nearly every other Disney movie is pretty close to being fresh. I don’t think any other studio could say that. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/guides/best_disney_animated_movies/