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on November 7, 2003
I went to Brother Bear not really knowing what to expect. Some of the recent Disney hand drawn animated releases have fallen short of expectations. I have to say that I was extremely impressed by the plot and character development in this movie. The story, while it is a relatively simple one, is one that draws you in and makes you care about the characters. And while many of us can see where the plot is going, the journey is highly enjoyable with some unexpected twists along the way.
For those of you who don't know what the movie is about, it is a coming of age movie about a boy who becomes a man by becoming a bear. Beyond that, it is about breaking stereotypes, and developing a respect for life. It is about dealing with anger and loss. The emotional intensity of this movie is much more similar to Lilo and Stitch or Finding Nemo, than it is to older hand animated movies such as Aladdin or The Little Mermaid. My four year old is very sensitive and had to be held at several points during the movie. But my six year old loved it, and learned some valuable lessons as well.
If I had anything negative to say, it would be that the music is not as memorable as I would have liked. I wish that they had asked Sir Elton John to contribute to the music for the picture. I like Phil Collins, but the music is too reminiscent of Tarzan for me. Still, it's not enough of a negative in this movie to make me change my rating.
Overall, I think that if they made more hand animated movies like this, they could continue to put them out forever. CGI is nice, but part of what makes Pixar movies memorable is the care given to the plot. This movie will probably be one of the great animated sleeper movies of all time--definitely can't wait to own it on DVD as well.
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on November 3, 2003
"Brother Bear" has all the traits we are familiar with from Disney, but they are more nicely done than in some recent efforts. There is a grand sentimental theme (brotherly love), a soaring musical score, an earnest effort to incorporate another culture into the film (Inuit), an ornery lead who has something to learn (Kenai), a loveable little sidekick (Koda), and secondary characters for comic relief (Rutt and Tuke, two goofy mooses, played by Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis re-enacting their "McKenzie Brothers" routine).
Somehow it comes together better than most. The quality of the animation is excellent, the characterizations clearer, the funny bits genuinely funny (my favorite bit was the mooses' penchant for doing yoga poses). Moreover, the ending was a bit less trite than is sometimes the case.
Disney true-blue fans will definitely want to see it, but even if you usually have a low tolerance for Disney stories, give this one a look.
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on October 25, 2003
We saw a special sneek preview on 10/25/03. Brother Bear is a hit. Well written story line, great music, and beautiful animation.
Make sure you stay until all the credits have run, there's one last "outtake" at the very very end of the movie. Most of the audience had walked out, and missed it.
The Oh Family
Honolulu, HI
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on October 24, 2003
I was lucky enough to see a screening of Brother Bear, and I was really impressed! At a time when there seems to be a glut of 3d slick animation, this movie really shows the beauty and grace of hand drawn animation through the lush backgrounds and impressive performances by the characters. Its sad that it seems disney is going to be making strictly 3d animated movies after this one, b/c they've got some AMAZING artists there who can really bring things to life with pencil and paper.
People should really enjoy this tale of brotherly love! Koda and Kenai are really endearing; and their relationship really tugs at the heart. The two moose are hilarious!!!!
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on November 3, 2003
A lot of the more recent Disney animated films haven't been so great. Definately not movies worthy of being in the Platinum Collection (wich includes to date Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, and the Lion King). Brother Bear was so unexpected. I guessed that Disney was trying to cash in on the success of Tarzan (the other Disney film with music by Phil Collins), but the two are nothing alike. I went into the movie thinking the plot would be man turns into a bear resulting in good family fun. There is so much more to it. I really don't want to give anything away because the story takes you through so many surprises. The moose and the young bear, koda, definately steal the show, but you really do care for Kenai, the man who turns into a bear. I think Disney should have released this film after Home On The Range, the next and last Disney hand animated movie. That way they could go out with a bang. Home on the Range looks good, but good like Emporors New Groove was good. I really hope they change their mind and make more hand drawn, because I get sick of computer animation after a while. Take your family or friends to see Brother Bear. There is something for everyone in it.
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VINE VOICEon September 18, 2005
I watched this movie at the recommendation of a friend and could not have been more pleased. The animation is incredible, from the lush scenery to the emotion of the characters (two and four-legged), the Disney animation department has taken extra special care to details in this movie. The story is so touching, there were several points I was moved to tears and the ending is perfect. The cast is excellent as well, from the talented young actor who voices Koda to the hilarious Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas as the moose, and Joaquin Phoenix as Kenai. I cannot say a bad thing about this movie, see it and let that be reward in itself.
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on March 15, 2013
I became alarmed when I first put the Blu-ray disc in, I had never seen the movie before and thought Disney had made a mastering error whit the black bars on all four sides. I stopped the player to make sure I had all the correct settings.

I spoke with the Disney technicians. This movie was shot in multiple aspect ratios, the first 24 minutes of the movie was shown theatrically at 1:78 to 1, then the image widened to 2:33-1.

it was the decision of the director to present the first 24 minutes of the movie on the Blu-Ray release window-boxed at 1:78-1 instead of filling up the screen. This would retain the impact of the image widening to 2:33-1 24 minutes into the film. Otherwise it would feel like the image shrunk down to 2:33-1 with black bars on the top & bottom and this is not what the director desired.

The old DVD used to crop off the sides of the 2:33-1 portion to keep the screen filled at 1:85-1.

There should have been a warning that the first 24 minutes were window-boxed and the rest of the film would be wide-screen 2:33-1.
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on December 5, 2003
We didn't expect much... but boy what a surprise! This is a deeply moving movie that the kids and adults will both love. Lots of fun, a lesson to be learned, and far removed from the typical romantic theme. Bring tissues - this will touch your heart!
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on December 13, 2015
This blu ray set is great! It comes with not only the first Brother Bear movie but the second one as well. The set arrived quickly and not damaged. This was a part of a birthday gift for a coworker's 10 year old son. I have never seen the movies to provide an adult's perspective, but from a kid's, it seems like he loves watching both movies; already requested a few times since receiving it a week ago. The price is also great for a set of blu ray animation movies; the graphics and audio were on point and did not have any issues with the discs themselves.
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on April 8, 2004
"Brother Bear" has elements that every member of the family can enjoy. Adults will love the new Phil Collins music, children will fall in love with the adorable bear cub, Koda, and everyone is sure to love the moose, voiced by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas. The theme of "Brother Bear" is seeing through another's eyes. Kenai is a member of the inuit tribe. When his eldest brother is killed by a bear, Kenai seeks revenge. To teach him a lesson, the spirit of his older brother turns him into a bear. He teams up with a cub named Koda and through their journey, Kenai learns to love him as a brother and sees the error of his previous lifestyle. "Brother Bear" is the kind of Disney film that leaves you happy and makes you want to watch it again and again.
I think there could have been better special features. 2-disc dosen't mean the special features are great. The first disc has a "Family Friendly" widescreen version of the film. "Brother Bear" was filmed with two aspect ratios. The first 21 minutes of the film was filmed in the standard widescreen size, and after Kenai is turned into a bear, the movie switches to cinemascope, which is really widescreen. The "Family Friendly" version on the first disc keeps the normal widescreen for the whole film. When you watch the second disc, the whole movie is in cinemascope, so the first 21 minutes has black bars on the side of the film, as well as on the top and bottom. I prefer the original aspect ratio on the second disc, but I wish they would have kept the first part of the film looking normal on it. There are special features for kids, including games, a sing-along, and more outakes that weren't on the ending credits. For adults, there is a 45-minute making of. I wish there would have been art galleries and a more extensive behind the scenes. But this release is good for now.
"Brother Bear" is going to be remembered ten years down the road the same way that "The Lion King" is. It has all of the elements that make a Disney animated film a classic.
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