It’s finally time to watch the fourth and last Disney release of 2003; Brother Bear. Now, I didn’t really know anything about this before I saw it except that it has to do with bears…so there is that. Onto the movie then.
Brother Bear opens with an old inuit talking in a language I can’t understand. Thankfully, soon a voice over starts telling us this is a very old story about him and his brothers. Back in the day, the world was full of magic, the source of it all were the ever changing lights in the sky. The scientist in me is inclined to say they are the Northern Lights but what fun would that be, right? Anyway, these lights have the power to change things in the world.
Cut to Kenai, the youngest brother running toward his two older brothers. They hide behind they kayaks while a bunch of reindeer (yaks? IDK) jump over them. That night, there is going to be Kenai’s manhood ceremony so he is excited about that.
Then a song starts and the singer sounds a lot like Tina Turner and a small research told me that I was right. Go me. Anyway. We get lots of nature shots and they are beautiful intertwined with scenes of the three brothers going about their day which looks like fun. They are very brotherly with each other, annoying the crap out of the other ones and so on.
Later, the village people (lol, not those Village People but okay) are preparing for the ceremony and it’s Kenai’s job to tie up the fish basket so the bears won’t get to it but he is distracted and doesn’t do it right. He rushes off regardless of the situation.
At the ceremony, an old woman awards Kenai his totem which is a bear. Apparently that stands for love but Kenai is not pleased with his totem because it makes him look like a softie. The situation doesn’t get better when afterwards, his brother Denahi starts teasing him about it. Only the oldest brother, Sitka tries to explain to him that it’s a good thing and he will grow into it.
They come upon the fish basket which was ravished by bears in the meantime. I know, nobody is shocked by this, at all. As he is the one who messed up, Kenai goes out to get more fish but comes upon the bear and starts fighting with it. Because they see their little brother is in danger, the older ones join in but it ends dramatically because Sitka has to use his spear to break off a pice of the glacier they’re on to save the other 2 brothers. This means though that he will fall to his death. Everyone is sad.
The brothers go looking for Sitka but can’t find him anywhere so there is a ceremony held for the deceased. My heart. Kenny, plagued with guilt and grief promises to hunt down the bear and kill it, Denahi tells him, it won’t change anything and the bear is not responsible Ouch. That hurt. Kenny goes off regardless.
And because this is a movie, Kenai finds the bear rather easily, fights with it and it doesn’t look so good for the boy but in a last attempt, the bear dies and Kenai lives. Only, the ever changing lights descend upon Kenai, take him up into the sky and transform him into a bear himself. Oh, also Sitka is the one pulling the magic shots so you know #deep
Dinah only sees the bear and remnants of Kenai’s clothes so he assumes the bear ate the boy. Not quite what happened but one can understand his confusion. Anyway, Kenai falls off the cliff and it looks like he is dead only he isn’t. I have a lot of feels for the middle brother at this moment because he has lost both his brothers in such a short time.
Cut to Kenai waking up where the old woman, who did the manhood ceremony, awaits him. She knows what happened because she knows all about the mystical things and such. Kenny tries to tell her what happened but she can’t understand him because she doesn’t speak Bear. Dun, dun, dunnnnn. Just then, Kenai realises he is now a bear. Apparently, spirits usually on’t make such massive changes but okay. If he wants to get back to his former self, he has to take it up with them on the mountain where the lights shine and touch the ground, something like that.
The old woman is gone and Kenai realises that he can now hear all the animals. Of course most of them are scared of him because he is a bear. He asks two moose for directions but they don’t really know anything about spirits and lights touching the ground. The poor little guy now bear has some identity problems with his new self, which is understandable. Nevertheless he ends up in a bear trap.
Out of the woodwork comes a Lil’ Bear who talks a lot but also ultimatly manages to get him out of the trap. Then, Denahi also appears but of course Kenai can’t explain that its him, Denahi just sees a bear, in fact, the bear who killed his baby brother. The bears run away and into a cave where they talk.
Apparently, Lil’ Bear got separated from his mother and he wants to go to the salmon run in the hopes of finding her there. Kenny almost dismisses it but Lil’ Bear mentions the mountain and the lights and such so they are going in the morning, after a cuddleless sleep.
Denahi finds the cave but the two bears are already off, walking through nature to the sound of Phil Collins, as one does in Disney movies. The two of them have a sweet moment where they talk spirits and stuff and then they fight some more but also can’t really keep away from each other.
The salmon run is just ahead according to Lil’ Bear but they have to cross some kind of lava fire pit first. Great. In there, Denahi attacks them and they have to rush out of it. It’s kind of intense, I guess because by this time, I kind of started tuning out, maybe even before that. #Sorrynotsorry
Finally, the bears reach the salmon run where there are lots of other bears. Only Lil’ Bear’s mom hasn’t showed up and I finally realise it’s the bear Kenai shot earlier. Excuse me while I have all the dead mother feels!
There is a lot of bonding happening, a lot of it to another Phil Collins song. Kenai learns how to hunt for salmon and at night they all have to tell stories. Lil’ Bear tells the story of his badass mom and Kenai realises what he did and sad pandas away.
Away from the others, Kenai starts telling Lil’ Bro what he did and why his mother is not coming back and I didn’t really pay any more attention to this until Denahi finds Kenai who suddenly gets transformed back to his human self with Sitka showing up as well. Denahi realises he was hunting his brother and all that crap, enlightenment, blah blah blah.
Lil’ Bear gets to enjoy some moments with his mom in spirit form until she and Sitka have to leave again and Kenai becomes a bear once more.
Okay, here’s the thing. I got mostly just whelmed, not underwhelmed, just whelmed with this movie. I was hoping for a little bit more and I guess the story is nice and all but also long and repetitive to me. Towards half of the movie, I stopped paying attention because it all felt rather “been there-done that”. It’s a decent movie but nothing inspiring. It could have been more is what I’m saying.
So, what are your thought son Brother Bear? Watched it? Loved or hated it? Let me know in the comments!