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Brother Bear

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Brother Bear Poster
Brother Bear
Directed by Aaron Blaise
Robert Walker
Produced by Chuck Williams
Written by Tab Murphy
Lorne Cameron
David Hoselton
Steve Bencich
Ron J. Friedman
Starring Joaquin Phoenix
Jeremy Suarez
Rick Moranis
Dave Thomas
Jason Raize
D. B. Sweeney
Joan Copeland
Michael Clarke Duncan
Music by Phil Collins (Songs)
Mark Mancina (Score)
Editing by Tim Mertens
Production company(s) Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Feature Animation
Distributor Buena Vista Pictures
Release date(s) November 1, 2003
Running time 85 minutes
Language English
Gross revenue $250,397,798
Preceded by Treasure Planet
Followed by Home on the Range
External links
Brother Bear is a 2003 American animated fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures, the 44th animated feature in the Disney Animated Canon. 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. To be human again, Kenai must learn how to see through another's eyes, feel through another's heart and discover the true meaning of brotherhood.

Originally titled Bears, 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 the fellow Disney/Pixar film Finding Nemo. A 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 thieving monsters. He believes his point is made a fact when a bear steals some salmon. Kenai and his brothers follow the bear's trail; when they find the bear, Kenai recklessly throws rocks at it. Provoked, the bear attacks Kenai and he and his brothers battle the animal on a giant glacier. When the bear gets the upper hand, Sitka sacrifices himself to save his brothers by causing both himself and the bear to fall off the glacier. However, the bear survives and runs into the woods.

After Sitka's funeral, Kenai, outraged that Sitka died and the bear was allowed to live, heads out to avenge his elder brother. He chases the bear up onto a mountain and engages it in a fight, eventually stabbing it and killing 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, and, mistaking Kenai for dead and his bear form is responsible for it, vows to avenge Kenai.

Jessen03 brotherBear cliff
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 wrong; 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. Next, the bears encounter some cave paintings, a pair of rams arguing with their own echo, and a land of geysers. 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 the late Michael Clarke Duncan), a huge 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 on a glacier, making Kenai realize that the bear he killed was Koda's mother.

Guilty and horrified, Kenai runs away, but Koda soon finds him. Kenai reveals the truth to Koda, who runs away heartbroken, because he is an orphan now. Unable to apologize to Koda because he can't find the cub, Kenai leaves to climb the mountain himself. Rutt and Tuke, having fallen off the mammoths (Rutt having lost an antler in the process), 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 spear. 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. Even though he can't talk to humans, Koda doesn't want Kenai to leave, because ever since he came into the cub's life, he has been like a brother to him. 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 paints his paw print on the village wall. At last, Kenai gains his title as a man, through being a bear.

Voice cast


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

Design and animation

The film is traditionally animated but includes some CG elements such as "a salmon run and a caribou stampede". 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 [...]".

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.> 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. 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.



Critical reception

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. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 38% rotten rating, saying: "Brother Bear is gentle and pleasant if unremarkable Disney fare, with so-so animation and generic plotting." Metacritic has a 48 out of 100 score, which is "Mixed or average reviews". IMdb has the film at 6.6/10 from 25,904 users.

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 office

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.

Home video

The film's March 30, 2004 DVD release brought in more than $167 million in DVD and VHS sales and rentals. The film and its sequel were released on a 2-Movie Collection Blu-ray on March 12, 2013.


  • This is the fourth Disney film to have dust, after The Lion King, Pocahontas and Tarzan.
  • Brother Bear was dedicated to Disney writer Chuck Jones, and the 7th film to have a dedication to a Disney employee that has passed away during the credits. The first was The Lion King being dedicated to Frank Wells, the second was Mulan to John Denver, Tarzan to Ed Gilbert, Dinosaur to Rex Everhart, and Alantis: The Lost Empire to Jim Varney.
  • This is currently Walt Disney Animation Stuidos' last film to be scored by two composers (as it was scored by both Mark Mancina and songwriter Phil Collins). However, it would be the last animated film made by Disney to do so until Pixar's upcoming film The Good Dinosaur, released 12 years later.

Awards and nominations

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


  1. "Look Through My Eyes" - Phil Collins
  2. "Great Spirits" - Tina Turner
  3. "Welcome" - Phil Collins *
  4. "No Way Out" (single version) - Phil Collins
  5. "Transformation " - Bulgarian Women's Choir
  6. "On My Way" - Phil Collins
  7. "Welcome" - Blind Boys of Alabama with Phil Collins and Oren Waters
  8. "Transformation" - Phil Collins
  9. Three Brothers (Score)
  10. Awakes as a Bear (Score)
  11. Wilderness of Danger and Beauty (Score)
  12. "Great Spirits" - Phil Collins (Best Buy Exclusive)


v - e - d
Brother Bear | Soundtrack | Video game | Videography | Brother Bear 2
Little Golden Book | Disney's Wonderful World of Reading | Disney Read-Along
Kenai | Koda | Rutt and Tuke | Denahi | Sitka | Tanana | Tug | Koda's mother | The Rams | Nita | Atka | Chilkoot | Siqiniq and Taqqiq | Anda and Kata | Innoko | Bering | The Great Spirits
Great Spirits | Transformation | On My Way | Welcome | No Way Out | Look Through My Eyes | Welcome To This Day | Feels Like Home | It Will Be Me

Disney theatrical animated features
Walt Disney Animation Studios
Disney Golden Age

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) · Pinocchio (1940) · Fantasia (1940) · Dumbo (1941) · Bambi (1942) · Saludos Amigos (1942) · The Three Caballeros (1944) · Make Mine Music (1946) · Fun and Fancy Free (1947) · Melody Time (1948) · The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) · Cinderella (1950) · Alice in Wonderland (1951) · Peter Pan (1953) · Lady and the Tramp (1955) · Sleeping Beauty (1959) · One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961) · The Sword in the Stone (1963) · The Jungle Book (1967)

Disney Dark Age

The Aristocats (1970) · Robin Hood (1973) · The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977) · The Rescuers (1977) · The Fox and the Hound (1981) · The Black Cauldron (1985) · The Great Mouse Detective (1986) · Oliver & Company (1988)

Disney Renaissance

The Little Mermaid (1989) · The Rescuers Down Under (1990) · Beauty and the Beast (1991) · Aladdin (1992) · The Lion King (1994) · Pocahontas (1995) · The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) · Hercules (1997) · Mulan (1998) · Tarzan (1999)


Fantasia 2000 (1999) · Dinosaur (2000) · The Emperor's New Groove (2000) · Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) · Lilo & Stitch (2002) · Treasure Planet (2002) · Brother Bear (2003) · Home on the Range (2004) · Chicken Little (2005) · Meet the Robinsons (2007) · Bolt (2008)

Disney Revival

The Princess and the Frog (2009) · Tangled (2010) · Winnie the Pooh (2011) · Wreck-It Ralph (2012) · Frozen (2013) · Big Hero 6 (2014)


Zootopia (2016) · Moana (2016) · Gigantic (2018) · Frozen 2 (TBA)

Pixar Animation Studios

Toy Story (1995) · A Bug's Life (1998) · Toy Story 2 (1999) · Monsters, Inc. (2001) · Finding Nemo (2003) · The Incredibles (2004) · Cars (2006) · Ratatouille (2007) · WALL-E (2008) · Up (2009) · Toy Story 3 (2010) · Cars 2 (2011) · Brave (2012) · Monsters University (2013) · Inside Out (2015)


The Good Dinosaur (2015) · Finding Dory (2016) · Cars 3 (2017) · Coco (2017) · Toy Story 4 (2018) · The Incredibles 2 (2019)

DisneyToon Studios

DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp (1990) · A Goofy Movie (1995) · Doug's 1st Movie (1999) · The Tigger Movie (2000) · Recess: School's Out (2001) · Return to Never Land (2002) · The Jungle Book 2 (2003) · Piglet's Big Movie (2003) · Teacher's Pet (2004) · Pooh's Heffalump Movie (2005) · Bambi II (2006) · Tinker Bell (2008) · Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure (2009) · Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue (2010) · Secret of the Wings (2012) · Planes (2013) · The Pirate Fairy (2014) · Planes: Fire & Rescue (2014) · Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast (2015)

Lucasfilm Animation Studios

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) · Strange Magic (2015)

Live-Action Films with Non-CG Animation

The Reluctant Dragon (1941) · Victory Through Air Power (1943) · Song of the South (1946) · So Dear to My Heart (1949) · Mary Poppins (1964) · Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) · Pete's Dragon (1977) · Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) · James and the Giant Peach (1996) · Enchanted (2007)

Animated Films Distributed by Disney

The Brave Little Toaster (1987) · The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) · Valiant (2005) · The Wild (2006) · A Christmas Carol (2009) · Mars Needs Moms (2011) · Frankenweenie (2012)

Studio Ghibli Films Distributed by Disney

Princess Mononoke (1997) · Spirited Away (2001) · Howl's Moving Castle (2004) · Tales from Earthsea (2006) · Ponyo (2008) · The Secret World of Arietty (2010) · The Wind Rises (2013)

Start a Discussion Discussions about Brother Bear

  • These Movies I Want to See Get a Sequel

    5 messages
    • 1- Hercules 2 2- The Sword in the Stone 2 3- Peter Pan 3 4- Tarzan 3 5- Robin Hood 2 6- Brother Bear 3 7- The Little Mermaid 4 8- The Princess ...
    • I hope the sequels have 3 things: 1. Pinocchio II: Jiminy Cricket's Big Journey: Stars with Jiminy Cricket (voiced by Corey Burton). 2. ...
  • Brother Bear in Kingdom Hearts

    • A Brother Bear world,maybe known as something like Land Of the Northern Lights or Kingdom of the Forests should be in KH.The movie is awesome,...

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