Brother Bear

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Brother Bear
Directed byAaron Blaise
Robert Walker
Written byTab Murphy
Lorne Cameron
David Hoselton
Steve Bencich
Ron J. Friedman
Produced byChuck Williams
StarringJoaquin Phoenix
Jeremy Suarez
Rick Moranis
Dave Thomas
Jason Raize
D.B. Sweeney
Narrated byHarold Gould
Edited byTim Mertens
Music byPhil Collins
Mark Mancina
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • November 21, 2003 (2003-11-21)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$46 million[1]
Box office$250.4 million[1]

Brother Bear is a 2003 traditionally-animated musical fantasy comedy-drama movie produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures on November 21, 2003. It is about a human named Kenai who turns into a bear and discovers brotherhood. The 43rd animated feature in the Disney animated features canon, it was originally titled Bears, and was the third and final Disney animated movie produced mainly by the Feature Animation studio at Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida, that studio was shut down in March 2004, not long after the release of this movie in favor of computer animated features.[2] The movie received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature, but lost to Finding Nemo. A sequel, Brother Bear 2, was released on August 29, 2006.

Story[change | change source]

In prehistoric Alaska, the local Native Alaskans believe in the Great Spirits, who create life and are said to appear in the form of an aurora. Three brothers, Kenai (Joaquin Phoenix), the youngest, Denahi (Jason Raize), the middle, and Sitka (D.B. Sweeney), the elder, return to the tribe to receive totems, necklaces that take the shape of animals, with each animal being representative of something the brothers must achieve to prove themselves as men. Unlike Sitka, who receives the eagle of guidance, and Denahi, the wolf of wisdom, Kenai receives the bear of love, to which he objects, believing them to be thieves; he makes his point a fact when a grizzly bear steals their basket of fish. Kenai and his brothers pursue the bear; when the fight culminates on top of a glacier, Sitka sacrifices himself to save his brothers, by dislodging the glacier, but the bear survives. Following Sitka's funeral, Kenai takes it upon himself to slay the bear, blaming it for his brother's death. After fighting and slaying the animal, Sitka's spirit appears in the form of a bald eagle, and the Spirits transform Kenai into a bear. Denahi arrives and, thinking that the bear also killed Kenai, vows to avenge his brother by killing it.

Kenai falls down some rapids and is healed by Tanana (Joan Copeland), the tribal shaman; while she does not speak the bears' language, but advises him to travel to the mountain where Sitka's spirit will turn him back into a human, but only if he atones for his crime; vanishing without explanation. Kenai discovers he can now communicate with animals, meeting two moose called Rutt (Rick Moranis) and Tuke (Dave Thomas). He ends up getting caught in a hunter's trap, but is freed by Koda (Jeremy Suarez), a sassy bear cub. The two strike a deal; in exchange for leading Koda to an annual salmon run, he will take Kenai to the mountain. The two form a brother-like relationship, and Koda reveals his mother is missing. The two are pursued by Denahi, who is out to avenge Kenai; unbeknownst to him, his brother is the bear he is hunting. Upon reaching the salmon run, where several bears congregate, including the leader Tug (Michael Clarke Duncan. Kenai accepts his new surroundings and is comfortable living amongst the bears. During a discussion, Koda tells a story about his mother getting involved in a fight with human hunters; this reminds Kenai of his brothers' fight with the bear, and he realizes, to his horror, that he killed Koda's mother.

Horrified by his actions, Kenai runs away in guilt, but Koda follows him. Upset, he confesses to Koda that he killed his mother, and the bear cub runs off in grief; an apologetic Kenai then travels to the mountain on his own. Meanwhile. Rutt and Tuke have a fight, but reconcile with each other in front of Koda, prompting him to forgive Kenai. On the mountain, Kenai is attacked by Denahi, but Koda steals his spear. Out of love for the bear cub, Kenai sacrifices himself, and Sitka's spirit transforms him back into a human, much to the surprise of Koda and Denahi. Upon realizing that the cub needs him due to his own mistakes, Kenai asks to be transformed back into a bear, with Denahi's support. Sitka complies, and transforms his brother back to his bear form, and Koda is briefly reunited with his mother's spirit, before she and Sitka depart to the spirit realm. In the end, Kenai lives with the other bears, and gains his title as a man through living as a bear.

Reception[change | change source]

The reaction from movie reviewers was mixed to negative with many panning the movie as copying older Disney movies like The Lion King and the 20th Century Fox movie Ice Age (although Brother Bear began production before Ice Age did), while others defended the movie as a different and reasonable variation of the theme. The popular American movie critics Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper have given positive reviews of the movie. However, Brother Bear holds a rating of 38% in Rotten Tomatoes, which says that "Brother Bear is gentle and pleasant if unremarkable Disney fare, with so-so animation and generic plotting".[3]

Voice cast[change | change source]

Additional voices were provided by Caitlin Rose Anderson, Maxi Anderson, Bob Bergen, Jeffery L. Bergman, Rodger Bumpass, Carmen Carter, Cathy Cavadini, Randel Crenshaw, Cam Clarke, Jennifer Darling, Debi Derryberry, Cedric the Entertainer, Bill Farmer, Trey Finney, Dave Foley, Pat Fraley, Jess Harnell, B. Wyatt Johnson, Ben Johnson, Bethany Johnson, Luke Johnson, Amy Keys, Phil LaMarr, Hope Levy, Rick Logan, Sherry Lynn, Danny Mann, Arnold McCuller, Terence McGovern, Mickie McGowan, Tim Mertens, Laraine Newman, Rob Paulsen, Pat Pinney, Brian Posehn, Josef Powell, Phil Proctor, Pam Seagall, Roger C. Smith, Susan Stevens-Logan, Tara Strong, Cree Summer, Steve Susskind, Maddie Taylor, Alan Tudyk, Lamont Van Hook, Julia Waters, Oren Waters, Willie Wheaton, Fred White, Joe Whyte, Maxine W. Waters, Ariel Winter, Terry Wood, James Woods and Terry Young.

Crew[change | change source]

Crew Position
Directed by Aaron Blaise
Robert Walker
Produced by Chuck Williams
Written by Tab Murphy
Lorne Cameron
David Hoselton
Steve Bencich
Ron J. Friedman
Songs by Phil Collins
Original Score by Mark Mancina
Phil Collins
Associate Producer Igor Khait
Art Director Robh Ruppel
Film Editor Tim Mertens
Artistic Supervisors Steve Anderson (Story supervisor)
Jeff Dickson (Layout supervisor)
Barry R. Kooser (Background supervisor)
Phillip S. Boyd & Chrisine Lawrence-Finney (Clean-up supervisor)
Garrett Wren (Effects supervisor)
Supervising Animators Byron Howard (Kenai-Bear)
Alex Kuperschmidt (Koda)
Ruben A. Aquino (Denahi)
James Young Jackson (Kenai-Human)
Tony Stanley (Rutt)
Broose Johnson (Tuke)
Anthony Wayne Michaels (Sitka)
Tom Gately (Tanana)
Rune Brandt Bennicke (Tug & Koda's Mom)
Background Stylist
Character Design
Artistic Coordinator
Production Manager
Xiangyuan Jie
Rune Brandt Bennicke
Kirk Bodyfelt
Bruce Anderson

Songs[change | change source]

Song Performed by Available on the soundtrack disc? Heard in the film?
Great Spirits Tina Turner Yes Yes
Transformation Phil Collins Yes No
Transformation Bulgarian Women's Choir Yes Yes
On My Way Phil Collins Yes Yes (except Koda sings the first few lyrics and the last lyric)
On My Way (this version contains Koda singing the first few lyrics and the last lyric) Jeremy Suarez
Phil Collins
No Yes
Welcome Phil Collins Yes No
Welcome Phil Collins
The Blind Boys of Alabama
Yes Yes
No Way Out (theme from Brother Bear) Phil Collins Yes Yes
Look Through My Eyes Phil Collins Yes Yes (also on bonus material)

Score by Mark Mancina/Phil Collins

Release Dates[change | change source]

Country Premiere VHS release date DVD release date Blu-ray release date
 United States November 1, 2003 March 30, 2004 March 30, 2004 March 12, 2013
October 12, 2021
 United Kingdom December 5, 2003 May 10, 2004 May 10, 2004 September 29, 2014
 Australia December 26, 2003 June 30, 2004 June 30, 2004 September 21, 2016
 United Arab Emirates April 16, 2004 September 10, 2004 September 10, 2004 November 15, 2013
August 23, 2024

Deleted songs[change | change source]

  • "The Fishing Song" - This was intended for the salmon run sequence, but was replaced by "Welcome".
  • "This Can't Be My Destiny" This was song by Phil Collins. But unfortunately it never made it to the movie. The song was however mention in the special feature by Phil Collins. This song was never released.

Sequel[change | change source]

Brother Bear 2 was released August 29, 2006.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Brother Bear". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 2016-01-13. Retrieved 2015-08-02.
  2. Brother Bear (2003) - News
  3. Animated News » Brother Bear Two Thumbs Up!

Other websites[change | change source]