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"BROTHER BEAR"
(2003) (voices of Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Suarez) (G)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
*None Minor Moderate *Heavy Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Minor Extreme None None
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor None Moderate Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Animated Drama: A prehistoric teen is magically turned into a bear so that he can see the error of his thinking, that includes his hatred of bears, and become a man.
PLOT:
Kenai (voice of JOAQUIN PHOENIX), Denahi (voice of JASON RAIZE) and Sitka (voice of D.B. SWEENEY) are brothers growing up in prehistoric times when mammoths still roam the land. Kenai, the youngest, is set to receive his totem, a symbol that will lead him into manhood and throughout the rest of his life.

Accordingly, he's disappointed when the village shaman, Tanana (voice of JOAN COPELAND), presents him with the totem of Love. He doesn't have much time to think about it, however, as he discovers that a bear has taken the basket of fish he was supposed to have secured. He goes off to retrieve it, but finds more trouble than he expected as he encounters a large and ferocious bear. Denahi and Sitka arrive to help, with Sitka eventually sacrificing his life to save those of his brothers.

Filled with hatred and a lusting for revenge, Kenai again sets out to find the bear, with Denahi not far behind. Kenai ends up killing the bear, but Sitka's spirit decides it's time for his younger brother to grow up and learn a lesson. Thus, he causes Kenai to transform into a bear, a development that obviously doesn't sit well with the bear hater and that Denahi doesn't see, thus leading him to believe that this new bear killed Kenai.

Tanana tells the new bear that he must take up the matter with his brother at the place where the light touches the earth. He then sets out on his journey where he encounters two wacky moose, Rutt (voice of RICK MORANIS) and Tuke (voice of DAVE THOMAS), who prove to be of no help. After getting caught in a bear trap, he meets the young and talkative bear cub, Koda (voice of JEREMY SUAREZ), who agrees to help him escape if he'll take him to the annual Salmon run.

Kenai initially wants nothing to do with Koda, but when he hears that the bear gathering, led by Tug (voice of MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN), is near that place where the light touches the earth, he agrees. Along the way, Kenai learns various lessons about himself and others, all while the two must deal with Denahi who's intent on revenging his two brothers' deaths.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Since it's an animated tale featuring talking animals, it's a good bet many younger kids will be interested in it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: G
For supposedly not containing material to warrant a higher rating (read "Our Word to Parents" for more info).
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
It's debatable whether kids view animated characters, especially animals, as role models, but here's a quick look at their major characteristics.
  • KENAI is a young man whose hated of bears leads him to killing one. That ends up making Sitka transform his younger brother into a bear so that he'll learn his lesson. He eventually ends up befriending Koda after viewing him as an annoyance.
  • KODA is a young, talkative and energetic bear cub who accompanies Kenai on his journey.
  • DENAHI is Kenai's older brother who sets out to get revenge for what he believes is Kenai's death at the paws of a bear that he now hunts (and in reality is really Kenai).
  • RUTT and TUKE are two Canadian moose who supply the film's comic relief.
  • SITKA is Kenai's oldest brother who sacrifices his life to save those of his brothers and then tries to guide Kenai from the spiritual world.
  • TANANA is the village shaman who offers spiritual guidance to the villagers.
  • TUG is a friendly bear who runs the annual Salmon run and welcomes Koda back to it.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this G-rated animated drama. Inexplicably assigned that rating, the film contains several rather intense and harrowing scenes featuring bears attacking humans, and includes the death of a human brother character as well as that of a baby bear's mother. Those and other scenes could be quite unsettling, suspenseful or downright scary to younger viewers. That, of course, depends on their age, level of maturity and/or tolerance for such material.

    Some brief crude humor is present, as is one sexually related comical line of dialogue. The protagonist has a bad attitude toward bears and especially Koda, but eventually has a change of mind and heart, while some viewers might not like/appreciate the mysticism that's on display here. Some imitative behavior, including some colorful phrases, is also present.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None, but one bear tells another that an occurrence calls for something on malted hops.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Crude humor includes: One moose comments on something about maybe a goose "pooped" on someone; one moose tells another not to go near a certain patch to feed as "something went there" and Koda repeats a learned phrase that if the snow is white, it's alright. But if it's yellow or green, it's not clean.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some viewers might not like the mysticism (spirit related, including the transference of spirits) that's on display here.
  • Denahi makes fun of Kenai's totem being love rather than something more "manly."
  • Despite now being a bear, Kenai wants nothing to do with bears, especially Koda and has a bad attitude toward him (for a while, he eventually changes his attitude). He also breaks a promise to Koda about taking him to the Salmon Run, and later changes his mind only for selfish reasons.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • The following may or may not be unsettling, suspenseful or even scary for younger kids (which all depends on their age, level of maturity and/or tolerance for such material).
  • Kenai runs ahead of a stampede of elk that soon passes over them as they hide behind a fallen log (some younger kids might find that a bit suspenseful or overwhelming). One of the elk's hooves hits one of the brothers on the head, but he's otherwise okay.
  • Sitka and Denahi discover Kenai partially down a cliff, only to realize a large, menacing bear is present that comes after them. It knocks one down and another nearly into a crevice, prompting a speedy rescue attempt before he falls into it. Seeing that bear his after his two brothers, Sitka then jams his spear into the icepack below him, prompting it to break away and send him, the bear and tons of ice falling a long distance into the water below. The bear makes it out, but Sitka does not (he's dead, but we never see his body).
  • As Kenai hunts a bear for revenge (for Sitka's death), he hears a noise in the wilderness, but it turns out to be a small animal instead. We then suddenly see the bear behind Kenai and his spear is out of immediate reach. He eventually grabs it and chases after the bear that grabs his spear and spins him around in a circle above a cliff. The bear is then over him, chases him up a small rock formation and then charges at Kenai who runs for his spear, gets it and is then on the ground with his spear pointing up. He then impales the bear, killing it, but we don't see the impact (although we hear related sounds).
  • Kenai, now a bear, falls over a cliff, into some rapids and is underwater before finally getting beached.
  • Not realizing the bear is Kenai, Denahi nearly spears his brother.
  • Koda and Kenai must pass through what looks like a steam or lava field.
  • A spear lands near Kenai (as the bear) and we then see Denahi with a knife as he chases after the bear (who breaks open some ground, causing some steam to stop his brother). Kenai and Koda then race across a log covering a huge ravine. Denahi then pushes the log that falls away just as Kenai and Koda make it to the other side. Denahi then tries to leap across the large ravine. He grabs the hanging log, but it falls away, sending him falling a great distance into a body of water (he's okay).
  • Denahi nearly hits Kenai (as a bear) with his spear. The two then struggle and both fall down a cliff. Denahi then raises his knife above Kenai, but Koda knocks him aside and then races after Denahi's spear to prevent him from getting it.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Spears/Knife: Carried by the men and used to kill or attempt to kill bears.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Hey, dog breath," "Bonehead," "Pinheads," "Lover boy," "Big nose," "Oh Jeez," "You nitwit," "Your ugly mug," "Hey, shut up" (repeated many times toward an echo "replying" the same thing), "I think their horns are screwed on too tight," "Dude," "Pain in the neck," "Trample off" and "Hoofer."
  • Denahi knocks Kenai aside and then nearly spits on him (playfully letting the spit run down from his mouth near Kenai before sucking it back up again). Sitka then has both brothers in headlocks and knocks their heads together (in an older brother sort of fashion).
  • The brothers ride kayak like boats down a snowy hillside.
  • Some kids might want to imitate the Canadian accents of Rutt and Tuke.
  • A moose makes comments such as "You're crazy" and "Fruitcake" while feigning a sneeze from which such phrases are made.
  • The Moose play the "I Spy" game (and keeping picking the same object).
  • Some kids may get the idea that it's okay to play with bears (due to later scenes in the film where Denahi and Kenai get along as the different species).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • The sudden appearance of a bear might startle some younger viewers.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful and dramatic music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • None.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Seeing two bears that are in love, Tub jokingly tells them, "Get a cave."
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Kenai and Denahi see their brother fall to his death after saving them (we don't see the impact, death or body) but there's a funeral-like ritual afterwards.
  • Koda tells a story where we realize (but he doesn't) that his mother was killed. Kenai then tells Koda that the young bear's mother is never coming back and is dead (and the young bear is upset by that news). Later, Koda briefly see the spirit of his dead mom (not scary).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The mysticism (spirit related, including the transference of spirits) that's on display here.
  • Learning tolerance for others and other creatures.
  • Revenge.
  • How animals view humans.
  • Prehistoric times and animals, such as the mammoths seen in this film.
  • Some kids may get the idea that it's okay to play with bears (due to later scenes in the film where Denahi and Kenai get along as the different species).
  • VIOLENCE
  • An elk's hooves hits one of the brothers on the head (as it leaps over him), but he's otherwise okay.
  • Denahi knocks Kenai aside and then nearly spits on him. Sitka then has both brothers in headlocks and knocks their heads together (in an older brother sort of fashion).
  • One of the brothers is clotheslined by a tree branch while riding atop a mammoth.
  • A tied-up dog bites Denahi off-camera (played for laughs).
  • Kenai throws rocks at a bear that raided their basket of fish and hits it.
  • Sitka and Denahi discover Kenai partially down a cliff, only to realize a large, menacing bear is present that comes after them. It knocks one down and another nearly into a crevice, prompting a speedy rescue attempt before he falls into it. Seeing that bear his after his two brothers, Sitka then jams his spear into the icepack below him, prompting it to break away and send him, the bear and tons of ice falling a long distance into the water below. The bear makes it out, but Sitka does not (he's dead, but we never see his body).
  • Kenai chases after a bear that grabs his spear and spins him around in a circle above a cliff. The bear is then over him, chases him up a small rock formation and then charges at Kenai who runs for his spear, gets it and is then on the ground with his spear pointing up. He then impales the bear, killing it, but we don't see the impact (although we hear related sounds).
  • Kenai (the bear) has his leg snared in a rope trap and he's yanked up into the air via a tree branch. He bounces up and down, however, bashing his head onto a rock, the tree and the ground again. Koda shows up to rescue him, but instead ends up repeatedly hitting him with a branch. Koda eventually releases the rope, causing Kenai to smash into the ground. The tree branch then crashes down and hits Kenai on the ground (all played for laughs).
  • Not realizing the bear is Kenai, Denahi nearly spears his brother.
  • Koda and Kenai fall down a hill and land in some mud (played for laughs).
  • A spear lands near Kenai (as the bear) and we then see Denahi with a knife as he chases after the bear (who breaks open some ground, causing some steam to stop his brother). Kenai and Koda then race across a log covering a huge ravine. Denahi then pushes the log that falls away just as Kenai and Koda make it to the other side. Denahi then tries to leap across the large ravine. He grabs the hanging log, but it falls away, sending him falling a great distance into a body of water (he's okay).
  • Denahi nearly hits Kenai (as a bear) with his spear. The two then struggle and both fall down a cliff. Denahi then raises his knife above Kenai, but Koda knocks him aside and then races after Denahi's spear to prevent him from getting it.



  • Reviewed October 25, 2003 / Posted November 1, 2003

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