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Article:    Brother Bear

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Disney's Brother Bear, the Movie

This 2D, cell animation cartoon feature film is visually pleasing and blends just the right amount of drama and comedy. Set in post-Ice Age Pacific Northwest, a young Inuit man named Kenai is given a totem from the village shaman, a carved bear which symbolized love. Kenai would have preferred an eagle like the one given to his older brother, Sitka. Later that day, Kenai hunts down a bear who has made off with his fish, and his two brothers come to his rescue. The grizzly kills his older brother, Sitka, in the confrontation, and Kenai is determined to seek revenge. He hunts down and kills the bear, at which point the Great Spirits in the sky turn Kenai into a bear. Of course, his younger brother presumes that the bear killed Kenai and chases the bear (who is Kenai).

On Kenai's hunt for Sitka at an unknown mountain, and a simultaneous flee from Denahi (his younger brother), the human-turned-bear meets two moose named Rutt and Tuke, voiced by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas doing their hilarious McKenzie Brothers routine. 

Kenai becomes ensnared in a hunters' trap and is rescued by Koda, an enthusiastic bear cub who insists he knows where the mountain is. Kenai reluctantly takes Koda along on the journey, and slowly but surely, warms up to the chatty little cub. The animation, largely hand-drawn, is lush and pleasing.

Brother Bear is available on both DVD and VHS. The 2-disc DVD set "extras" include outtakes, deleted scenes, two interactive games, a Phil Collins music video, two sing-along-songs, and assorted featurettes.

Disney's Brother Bear CD-ROM takes children on a 3-D platform game adventure that allows them to play as Kenai, Koda, as well as wolves, eagles, and crows. The game does some hand-holding at the beginning, training younger children and acquainting them with the controls. Children grab honeycombs, swat bushes, collect fish and acorns to renew vitality, and avoid itchy plants. The game features an option that allows kids to jump automatically, which is certainly helpful for younger children in the target audience. The game becomes increasingly challenging, although largely "doable". Pay attention to the minimum requirements, as this game gave us technical problems on two test computers.


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June 2004

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