by Jan Aaron
tale of three brothers in the Pacific Northwest, set at the
end of the Ice Age, Disney’s Brother Bear, starts and
ends with prehistoric story telling and ancient rites. The
film’s mystical story might be too complicated for the very
young filmgoers. Beautiful wide screen visuals, handsome animation,
and six new tunes by Phil Collins, including the legendary
Tina Turner singing Collins’ “Great Spirits,” make it memorable.
a nutshell: The youngest of three bickering brothers, Kenai,
(voiced by academy award nominee, Joaquin Phoenix) is peeved
about the totem he has received to mark his passage to manhood:
a carved bear representing “love.” He thinks it’s not as noteworthy
as the eagle totem sported by his oldest and bravest brother,
Kenai takes off after a bear that has stolen a basket of fish,
and brave Sitka sacrifices his life for his brother while trying
to kill the bear. The bear survives, and ignoring his elders,
Kenai seeks revenge. When the northern lights send heavenly
rays down to turn the feisty boy into a bear, the middle brother,
Denahi, thinks Kenai is also dead, so forsaking his peaceful
philosophy; he sets out to get the killer bear.
the screen expands into an enchanted wood with vibrant colors
where animals can speak to each other (but not to people) and
two bickering moose are standup comedians using contemporary
slang, like “hey, dude,” ultimately becoming tiresome. Kenai,
once a foolhardy boy, has become a cowardly bear. Counseled
by a woman shaman to seek Sitka’s spirit atop a mountain, the
scared bear grudgingly hooks up with a spunky cub, Koda, (voiced
by Jeremy Suarez) who hopes to find his mom at the big salmon
run near the mountain. They survive terrible perils, traipsing
through glacial caverns, frozen tundra, a sulfurous geyser
field, and great gorges, hitching rides on woolly mammoths.
They are warmly received at the salmon run from bears gathered
there. Eventually reaching the sacred peak, Kenai finally also
G; 82 minutes, call 212-777-Film for more information.
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