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Brother Bear

Brother Bear is an animated film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and released on November 1, 2003. In it, an Inuit boy pursues a bear in revenge for a battle with it he provoked in which his oldest brother is killed. He tracks down the bear down and kills it, but the Spirits, angered by this needless death, change the boy into a bear himself as punishment. The movie's original title was Bears.

Table of contents
1 Plot
2 Critical Reaction
3 Voice Cast
4 Pronunciation Guide
5 Songs
6 External Links


Warning: Wikipedia contains spoilers

Long ago in a post-Ice Age land when mammoths still lived, there were three brothers. Their names were Kenai, Denahi, and Sitka. Denahi, the middle brother, and Sitka, the oldest, worked as hard as they could. They think Kenai should work more and play less. Kenai, the youngest, hates bears because they fight for the same food, overtake the land, ransack his village and ruin his coming-of-age ceremony. Each brother is given his own totem: Kenai, the bear of love; Denahi, the wolf of wisdom; and Sitka, the eagle of guidance.

When Sitka is killed in a battle with a bear that Kenai provoked, Tanana, the tribal shaman, officiates a funeral rite for Sitka. Suddenly Kenai ignores the village teachings of brotherhood with animals and sets out to hunt the bear for revenge and eventually kills it. To punish Kenai, the Great Spiritss, represented by the spirit of Sitka, transform him into a bear. Unfortunately his other brother, who was pursuing Kenai to stop him, doesn't realize what has happened and he believes the bear he finds over Kenai's clothes took his brother's life. In grief, he vows revenge.

Disoriented and barely escaping Denahi's wrath by falling into the river, Kenai awakens on the shore and in the presence of Tanana who eases him through his initial shock at his change. Although she cannot understand his bear voice, she advises Kenai to find where the lights touch the mountain in order to ask Sitka to change him back. This proves to be initially difficult as she immediately disappears without giving him directions. To his surprise, he finds he can talk with the other animals, but the only animals who are willing to talk to him are two dumb sibling Elk, Rutt and Tuke, who are more interested in cracking jokes at Kenai's claims to be a man than helping him. Along the way, Kenai meets a talkative, pesky bear cub named Koda, who claims to know the way to the salmon run where the bears gather to fish and where the lights seem to hug the mountain.

What happens is a journey in which Kenai, when not dodging Denahi who is now hunting him, grows rather fond of the irrepressible Koda whom he learns shares his spiritual beliefs. This in turn puts his hatred of bears in a stark perspective that forces him to reconsider, especially when he learns that Koda sees humans as much as monsters as he viewed bears. This culminates when they finally reach the salmon run and Kenai has the awkward experience of being surrounded by bears. Yet, the bears quickly accept him and he in turn learns about the loving community of these animals that makes his hate seem so foolish even as he learns to enjoy himself.

Yet, this contentment is shattered during the story session when Koda tells the story of his separation from his mother. Hearing the details of the story, Kenai is aghast to realize the story is essentially about the fight he and his brothers had with the killer bear from Koda's perspective. It immediately dawns on Kenai that he killed Koda's mother, because of a stupid vendetta borne out of a tragedy rising from his own foolishness to begin with. In shame at profoundly harming a child he has grown to love, Kenai flees the gathering, but Koda follows and asks what's wrong. With great remorse, Kenai confesses that Koda's mother is dead and he is responsible for that. Koda is distraught and runs away in grief while ignoring Kenai's apologies and pleas for forgiveness.

With nothing left to keep him with the bears, Kenai scales the mountain to contact the spirit of Sitka while Koda mourns alone. However, that funk is dispelled by a chance encounter with the squabbling Tuke and Rutt who reconcile because of their brotherhood which makes Koda realize that it is analogous to his relationship with Kenai. As for Kenai, his quest goes horribly wrong as he runs into Denahi who has finally tracked him down. In the ensuing fight, Koda, having forgiven Kenai, runs in to help his beloved brother at a critical moment in the fight. In the struggle, Kenai struggles to protect Koda to the point where he is about die in the same manner of Koda's mother in an act of self sacrifice. With that act, Kenai satisfies the Spirits that he has profoundly changed for the better and they allow Sitka to change Kenai back into a human.

Yet, while Kenai revels at his regained humanity, he realizes that he can no longer talk with Koda, a cub orphaned by his hateful vendetta. Rather than abandon his beloved adoptive brother, Kenai requests Sitka to change him back into a bear forever. With Denahi's support, Sitka grants his brother's request while Koda enjoys one last moment with his mother's spirit.

The film ends with Kenai, as a bear, finally making his mark with his tribe as a man with Koda sitting in the audience as a welcome visitor. and fulfils the promise of his totem animal in a stronger way that no one ever thought possible.

Critical Reaction

The reaction from film reviewers was severely mixed with many panning the film as a retread of older Disney films like The Lion King and the 20th Century Fox film, Ice Age, while others defended the film as a legitimate variation of the theme.

The American reaction to the film revealed a sharp difference of opinion between christian fundamentalists and the rest of society. The fundamentalist reviewers attacked the film as immoral for presenting a story world of divine spirits and promoting the idea of the fundamental equality of humanity and animals which was at odds with the Bible. On the other hand, The US Conference of Catholic Bishops praised the film as extolling a philosophy similar to St. Francis of Assisi. In addition, more secular critics focusing of the film's values praised the film as a very moral work with messages about forgiveness, empathy for others and brotherhood.

Voice Cast

The movie stars the voices of:

Pronunciation Guide

Kenai = KEY-nigh
Koda = CO-da
Rutt = rut
Tuke = took
Denahi = duh-nah-hee
Sitka = SIT-ka
Tanana = tah-nah-nah
Tug = tug


External Links