Disney’s latest feature is a perfect example of what is wrong with their animation department. They do not know what to make. Should they make serious epics, Broadway musicals, or over the top comedies? I think the Disney folks need to sit back and watch Pixar’s Finding Nemo (they should have, but maybe it is too much to bare). Pixar is making the films Disney should be making, and Disney is like a car sputtering. Some times it gets the fuel it needs and fires all the pistons just right (Lilo and Stitch) and sometimes there is no gas at all (Treasure Planet). Brother Bear falls right in the smack dab of those two. The film is not sure what it wants to be — it starts out as a serious morality play and then takes a sharp right turn when the main character undergoes his mystical transformation into a bear.
The story goes that an Inuit gets transformed into a bear by his dearly departed brother to teach him a lesson after 86’ing a bear that the first brother thinks was responsible for the late brother’s death. Then after the transformation, the brother bear seeks out the spirits to figure out what the dealyo is. Oh yes along the way, the third brother is hunting the brother bear cuz he thinks that the brother bear killed his brother (who actually is the bear). Confused? Yeah we all are. Then throw in talking bears and Moose who are along for the ride (literally on the back of some woolly mammoths) and you have a story. It actually comes across better in the movie, and I really only think that there is one big fault. What is that big fault? The intro is too long. Way too much ‘serious time’ is spent telling the backstory. I think if the producers had gone the way of Beauty and the Beast and dispensed with the backstory in about 5 minutes, it would have been a better flowing movie. Right now, the movie sputters during the too-long intro and the rest of the movie just can’t quite make up for it. And don’t even get me started on the Phil Collins songs.