BROTHER BEAR (2003):
Written by: Tab Murphy, Lorne Cameron, David Hoselton, Steve Bencich & Ron J. Friedman
-I figured “what the hell?” and rented this one- it’s one of the latter-day Disney films, and didn’t do to well or get very well-received, but it’s… okay. Ish. It basically has some cool set pieces and one VERY awesome transformation sequence that reminds you how mind-blowing this studio is, but then spends the rest of the movie being kind of boring and sucky. No real villain, only one memorable song (the rest is the crap Phil Collins didn’t want to use for “Tarzan”), no love story, very little drama after a point, and the story is ridiculously by-the-numbers. Disney has done Animal Movies better, Lesson Movies better, animation better, and more- this just comes across like some half-assed idea someone had, and nobody could think of a better one until it was too late.
The whole thing is that Kenai kills a bear after his oldest brother dies rescuing from it, and as penance, is transformed into a bear himself. At this point, the whole “Inuit Culture” package (which is done better than Pocahontas and her boring-ass tribe of natives) drops away and it become an Animal Movie, with Kenai The Bland (he’s sort of like a disrespectful, impulsive teenager… but just dull) and an Annoying Kid Character in Koda, and they meet some “funny” side characters (I wonder if the Bob & Doug Mackenzie-voiced Moose Brothers can be considered racist- it would be if they were using accents from another RACE, I tell you what. This anti-Canadian racism shall not stand!) and have some mediocre adventures involving very little actual threat. This movie’s just… bleh.
-Kenai was the worst bear ever. He’s barely able to take on a regular guy with a SPEAR, and actually gets outwrestled at points. HE’S A BEAR!!
About the Performer: Joaquin Phoenix is a famous actor and general weirdo who does great work, but is from an annoying family of goofs, and so turns off people with “performance” stuff like “I’m gonna be a rapper now”. He was very good as Johnny Cash, which proved the Academy will always reward the Best Imitation come awards season. Hollywood has loved him since his youth, and was only too happy to push him in the 2000s when his stuff started doing well. However, his mockumentary rap thing bombed, leading to an exile for a few years, and then a series of critically beloved bombs derailed him once more. He’s set to play The Joker for DC’s disastrous film universe in 2019, so we’ll see if he can manage a comeback (though he seems more artsy and “doing it for the work” so I doubt he cares).
Reception & Cultural Impact:
The movie did pre-e-e-e-e-etty well, I guess (out-grossing most of the movies between the Renaissance and then- such as Atlantis, Home on the Range and Treasure Planet), but didn’t blow any minds, and the reviews were decidedly mixed. It got a Straight-To-Video Sequel, but once “Home On The Range” came out, it got the Traditional Animation Division permanently axed and replaced with CGI stuff until “The Princess and the Frog” came out (which itself ensured that CGI would be the way of the future when “Tangled’ destroyed it in a box office comparison).