Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 2003. Walt Disney Feature Animation, Walt Disney Pictures. Story supervisor Stephen J. Anderson, Story by Nathan Greno, Stevie Wermers, Kevin Deters, Woody Woodman, Thom Enriquez, Kevin Harkey, Broose Johnson, John Norton, John Puglisi, Additional story material by Jeff Hand, Additional story by Tim Hodge, Tom LaBaff, Ray Shenusay, Brian Pimental, Jim Story, Don Dougherty, Don Hall, Samuel Levine, Aurian Redson, Chris Williams, Screenplay by Tab Murphy, Lorne Cameron, David Hoselton, Steve Bencich, Ron J. Friedman. Produced by Chuck Williams. Music by Phil Collins, Mark Mancina. Production Design by Robh Ruppel. Film Editing by Tim Mertens. Academy Awards 2003. Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2003.
Disney turns to Native folklore once again for an animated feature, this time the results being highly superior to Barbie-Pocahontas. A young Inuit boy named Kenai, ignoring his own totem of brotherly love, unfairly seeks revenge on the grizzly bear that was involved in his brother’s death, and after killing it is turned into a bear by the great spirits above him. His other brother thinks this bear is the one that killed Kenai, and hunts him down without knowing who it is that he is pursuing. Meanwhile, Kenai makes the acquaintance of a chatterbox cub who was separated from his mother and needs someone to escort him to a grizzly bear fishing convention of sorts. Kenai doesn’t want to spend any time with him, but seeing as how he doesn’t really know the world of bears he doesn’t have much of a choice, learning through his new friendship the true meaning of family. Beautifully animated, the film is highlighted by Phil Collins’ rich score that includes a phenomenal performance by Tina Turner. The story is heartwarming and the length is just right for all attention spans–it’s a fable told succinctly without any unnecessary flourishes, and its elements of humour (mostly from the two Canadian moose voiced by Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis of Strange Brew fame) are perfectly suited.