Brother Bear (2003)

Brother BearIn Disney’s animated adventure, the son (Joaquin Phoenix) of an Indian chief killed by a bear vows vengeance but is transformed by spirits into the very thing he sought to slay. Seeing the world through a bear’s eyes, the young man learns valuable lessons about the cycle of life. This disc includes the full version of the movie in the original 2.35:1 widescreen theatrical presentation, as well as a making-of featurette, deleted scenes and more.

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Suarez, More

Director: Aaron Blaise, More

Genre: Children & Family

Format: Widescreen, More

Language: English, More

Awards: Academy Award Nominee, More

This is a first for The Seekers Guide To Great Movies! This month, not only am I recommending an animated feature, but it’s a Disney animated feature! Perhaps I live in a sheltered world because I didn’t even know that this movie was in the theaters in 2003. I can only guess that there wasn’t much fuss because it didn’t do very well at the box office. And that would be no surprise, because this movie is just too good for the mainstream numbers! The animation is terrific, the color and dimensional depth of the images is stunning, especially if you watch on high-definition television! The writing is very sharp and funny with dialogue that I rank right up there with any of the Pixar releases. There’s plenty of cute stuff to keep the children entertained, along with the more sophisticated references and character interplay for the adults. Two characters that are especially funny are a pair of Moose named Rutt and Tuke. (voices by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas) These two Moose are the first friends that Kenai and the cub, Coda, make on their journey to “where the lights touch the earth”, and they are really funny.  Audio Sample: Brother bear Rutt n me Tuke (Listen Windows Media Audio! ) One of them starts his day with some chiropractic and little yoga! Audio Sample:brother bear yoga (Listen Windows Media Audio! )

This is such a powerful film for adults and children alike. It introduces us to the more native ideal that all things come from spirit, manifested into this world of form and phenomenon, and then return to spirit when this physical life is over. The story begins as a young man named Kenai is about to experience a traditional rite of passage into manhood. Kenai has two older brothers and he desperately wants to be a man, so he doesn’t have to be treated like a baby brother anymore. During his ceremony, a tribal elder presents him, with his personal totem which is to guide him throughout his life. His hurry to grow into man exceeds his understanding of what it means to be a man, so as a result, the totem that he receives doesn’t measure up to his expectation! Listen to the sound clip for a taste of that moment. Audio Sample: brotherbeartotem

Following the ceremony he and his brothers, who now are delighting in teasing him about his totem, discover that the fish had not been securely tied into the trees and a bear had made off with their catch. Disappointed because of the totem he received, angry at the loss of the fish and embarrassed by his brothers teasing, Kenai sets out to seek revenge on the bear that took the fish, and perhaps prove his manhood in the process. What follows is an incredible journey of discovery about the transforming power of love and its relationship to the spirit that animates all beings.

As animated features go, this movie has it all. I give it five stars. A great story, a terrific soundtrack featuring Phil Collins and others, great writing, incredible animation effects, lots of humor and an ending to warm your hearts! Wait until you see the Caribou stampede in Chapter 1! Spectacular! You shouldn’t wait to get your paws on this one.

Rent it today from your local video store, or try Netflix and have this movie delivered to your mailbox in just a couple of days! It’s free to try and cheap to join!

Popcorn! Don’t forget the popcorn!

Remember, you are what you watch! Mark Firehammer