Brother Bear is a 2003 American animated adventure film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 44th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. In the film, an Inuit boy named Kenai pursues a bear in revenge for a battle that he provoked in which his oldest brother Sitka is killed. He tracks down the bear and kills it, but the Spirits, angered by this needless death, change Kenai into a bear himself as punishment.[2] it was the third and final Disney animated feature produced primarily by the Feature Animation studio at Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida; the studio was shut down in March 2004, not long after the release of this film in favor of computer animated features. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature, but lost to Finding Nemo. A direct-to-video sequel, Brother Bear 2, was released on August 29, 2006.


The film is set in a post-ice age North America, where the local tribesmen believe all creatures are created through the Spirits, who are said to appear in the form of an aurora. Three brothers, Kenai (voiced by Joaquin Phoenix), Denahi (voiced by Jason Raize) and Sitka (voiced by D.B. Sweeney), return to their tribe in order for Kenai to receive his sacred totem, its meaning being what he must achieve to call himself a man. Unlike Sitka, who gained the eagle of guidance, and Denahi who gained the wolf of wisdom, Kenai receives the bear of love, much to his objections, stating that bears are thieves. His point is made a fact when a bear steals some salmon. Kenai and his brothers pursue the bear, but a fight follows on a glacier, Sitka giving his life to save his brothers, although the bear survives. Vengeful, Kenai heads out to avenge Sitka. He chases the bear up onto a mountain and kills it. The Spirits, represented by Sitka's spirit in the form of a bald eagle transforms Kenai into a bear after the dead bear's body disappears. Denahi arrives, mistaking Kenai for dead, and his bear form is responsible for it, vows to avenge Kenai.

Kenai falls down some river rapids, survives, and is healed by Tanana (voiced by Joan Copeland), the shaman of Kenai's tribe. She does not speak the bear language, but advises him to return to the mountain to find Sitka and be turned back to normal, but only when he corrects what he had done; she quickly disappears without an explanation. Kenai quickly discovers the wildlife can talk, meeting two brother mooses, Rutt and Tuke (voiced by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas). He gets caught in a trap, but is freed by a chatty bear cub named Koda (voiced by Jeremy Suarez). The two bears make a deal, Kenai will go with Koda to a nearby salmon run and then the cub will lead Kenai to the mountain. As the two eventually form a sibling-like bond, Koda reveals that his mother is missing. The two are hunted by Denahi who fails multiple times to kill Kenai, still unaware that he is his brother. Rutt and Tuke run into the bears multiple times, the group hitching a ride on a herd of mammoths to quicken the pace to the salmon run, but the moose are left behind when the bears move on. Kenai and Koda escape Denahi again, and reach the salmon run, where a large number of bears live as a family, including the leader Tug (voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan), a Grizzly Bear. Kenai becomes very much at home and at content with the other bears. During a discussion among the bears, Koda tells a story about his mother fighting human hunters, making Kenai realize that the bear he killed was Koda's mother.

Brother Bear 09

Kenai's contentment is about to be shattered when Koda tells the story of his separation from his mother

Guilty and horrified, Kenai runs away but Koda soon finds him. Kenai reveals the truth to Koda, who runs away grief-stricken. An apologetic Kenai leaves to reach the mountain. Rutt and Tuke, having fallen out, reform their brotherhood in front of Koda, prompting him to go after Kenai. Denahi confronts Kenai on the mountain, but their fight is intervened by Koda who steals Denahi's hunting pike. Kenai goes to Koda's aid out of love, prompting Sitka to appear and turn him back into a human, much to Denahi and Koda's surprise. However, Kenai asks Sitka to transform him back into a bear so he can stay with Koda. Sitka complies, and Koda is reunited briefly with the spirit of his mother, before she and Sitka return to the Spirits. In the end, Kenai lives with the rest of the bears and gains his title as a man, through being a bear.

Voice castEdit


In 2002 Digital Media Effects reported the title of the film as Bears.[3] An article in IGN in 2001 also mentioned an upcoming Disney release with the title Bears[4] as did Jim Hill of Ain't It Cool News.[5]

Design and animation Edit

The film is traditionally animated but includes some CG elements such as "a salmon run and a caribou stampede".[6] Layout artist Armand Serrano, speaking about the drawing process on the film, said that "we had to do a life drawing session with live bear cubs and also outdoor drawing and painting sessions at Fort Wilderness in Florida three times a week for two months [...]".[citation needed]

According to Ruben Aquino, supervising animator for the character of Denahi, Denahi was originally meant to be Kenai's father; later this was changed to Kenai's brother.[7] Byron Howard, supervising animator for Kenai in bear form, said that earlier in production a bear named Grizz (who resembles Tug in the film and is even voiced by the same person) was supposed to have the role of Kenai's mentor.[8] Art Director Robh Ruppel stated that the ending of the film originally showed how Kenai and Denahi get together once a year to play when the northern lights are in the sky.[8]


Critical receptionEdit

The reaction from film reviewers was mixed, with some panning the film as a retread of older Disney films like The Lion King and the 20th Century Fox film Ice Age (although Brother Bear began production before Ice Age did), while others defended the film as a legitimate variation of the theme. The popular American movie critics Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper have given positive reviews of the film.[9]

Of note to many critics and viewers was the use of the film's aspect ratio as a storytelling device. The film begins at a standard widescreen aspect ratio of 1.75:1 (similar to the 1.85:1 ratio common in U.S. cinema or the 1.78:1 ratio of HDTV), while Kenai is a human; in addition, the film's art direction and color scheme are grounded in realism. After Kenai transforms into a bear twenty-four minutes into the picture, the film itself transforms as well: to an anamorphic aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and towards brighter, more fanciful colors and slightly more caricatured art direction. Brother Bear was the first feature since The Horse Whisperer to do a widescreen shift. It was the only animated feature to do this trick, until The Simpsons Movie and Enchanted in 2007.

Box officeEdit

The film made $85,336,277 during its domestic theatrical run and then went on to earn $164,700,000 outside the U.S., bringing its worldwide total to $250,383,219, which is successful.[1]

Home videoEdit

The film's March 30, 2004 DVD release brought in more than $167 million in DVD and VHS sales and rentals.[10] In April 2004 alone, 5.51 million copies of Brother Bear were sold.[11]

The film will be released on a Blu-Ray Special Edition in spring 2013 along with the last movie Brother Bear 2

Awards and nominationsEdit

The film was also nominated at the 76th Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature,[12] but ultimately ended losing out to another Walt Disney pictures film, Finding Nemo.


Main article: Brother Bear (soundtrack)

Video gamesEdit

Brother Bear
Developer(s) KnowWonder Digital Mediaworks (PC)
Vicarious Visions (GBA)
Publisher(s) Disney Interactive
Platform(s) Game Boy Advance, Mobile Phone, Windows
Release date(s) Game Boy Advance
  • NA November 4, 2003
  • PAL November 21, 2003
  • NA November 11, 2003
  • PAL November 28, 2003
Genre(s) Action

Disney's Brother Bear was released in November 2003 for the Game Boy Advance, Mobile phone and Microsoft Windows. The story starts as the two moose are telling the story of "The bear who said he wasn't a bear". The story follows the film where Kenai transformed into a bear by his brother Sitka and is being hunted by his brother Denahi.

You play as Kenai and play mini-games like snow sliding or salmon run and eat berries to get totems and avoid purple bushes. In the GBA version, you play either Kenai or Koda. Collect three green, red or gold totems and avoid thorns and Denahi.

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Brother Bear". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  2. Lenburg, Jeff (2009). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons Third Edition. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 0-8160-6599-3Script error. 
  3. Tracy, Joe. "A Look at Animated Movies Coming Out in 2003". Digital Media FX. Retrieved August 7, 2009. 
  4. Linder, Brian (July 6, 2001). "A Sneak Peek at Disney's Future Films". IGN. Retrieved June 3, 2009. 
  5. Hill, Jim (October 11, 2001). "New Pics!!! Jim Hill Schools Us About All Things Nightmare Before Christmas & Long Term Changes At DisneyLand!!!". Ain't It Cool News. Harry Knowles. Retrieved August 15, 2009. 
  6. Wloszczyna, Susan (October 29, 2003). "Looks like a bear market for 2-D animation". USA Today. Retrieved January 1, 2009. 
  7. "Das Interview mit Ruben Aquino, Supervising-Animator (English transcript)". OutNow.CH. February 5, 2007. Retrieved January 3, 2009. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Script error
  9. "Animated News » Brother Bear Two Thumbs Up!". Animated Views. October 28, 2003. Retrieved July 16, 2010. 
  10. Chaney, Jen (January 23, 2005). "The Year on DVD and Tape". Retrieved April 27, 2010. 
  11. "Brother Bear (2003) - News". IMDb. Retrieved July 16, 2010. 
  12. Lenburg, Jeff (2009). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons Third Edition. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 0-8160-6599-3Script error. 

External links Edit


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