Just got back from seeing “Brother Bear”, and it’s just as good as I had hoped. The only thing I think that might stop this movie from getting the acclaim it deserves is the fact that *none* of the children in the theater “got it”, and I’d be surprised if more than a dozen parents, or critics, figure it out also.
It has a lot of action, suspense, and laughs, which I figure are for the rubes, but it also contains a lot of subtlety which is really neat in my opinion. Much like “The Last Unicorn”, which kids love and parents like, but intellectuals watch over and over again just for the layers and layers of intertwined meanings. Sort of a cartoon version of “Finnegan’s Wake” I guess.
Anyways, “Brother Bear” is a pretty deep movie for being a G-rated kid’s flick. Which is fine by me as I’m a real fan of animation in general and if it has a story that makes me smile while others are scratching their heads or telling their children “no, he’s not God” (you’ll understand if you see it), I like it even more… Seriously, the mother of the family next to me was really telling her kids that. I’d have to assume at this point that Disney Studios just loves to push the fine line of Right Winger “heresy”. 😉
One thing I noticed immediately is how the saturation of the colors got ratcheted up right after Kenai’s transformation from man to bear. They also beefed up the ambient sounds, which is most likely designed to emphasize the differences in Kenai’s perceptions as the story progresses.
I also just loved the tribe’s Wise Woman who reminds me a lot of Wolf. The whole sequence where she is talking to Kenai while completely unperturbed as to the fact that he is now a bear is priceless in my opinion.
“Rutt” and “Tuke”, the two moose voiced as Bob and Doug McKenzie, are also a real hoot for anyone old enough to remember SCTV. It’s tough to animate most ungulates like horses, deer and even moose due to the lack of “squash and stretch” in them, but Disney pulled it off. Wait till you see “Moose Yoga”, ROFL!
Anyways, go see this movie and if you must, simply enjoy it for the wonderful art that it is. Otherwise, revel in the meaning behind the story and I guarantee you’ll leave the theater with the biggest smile you’ve had in weeks.