Brother Bear was one of those overlooked Disney classics that most forgot about or never heard of it. It’s good the company decided to release the original movie and its direct-to-video sequel to give viewers another chance at this fun set of films in the Brother Bear Two Movie Collection, now available in one tight Blu-ray package. With a fun and furry cast of characters, loads of drama, comedy and adventure, this disc has all the “bear” essentials for a fun family movie night.
Things kick off in the original 2003 theatrical film that follows the young native american Kenai (voiced by the always great Joaquin Phoenix), who becomes more than angry when a bear kills his beloved older brother named Sitka. After stalking and killing the bear responsible, his brother’s spirit appears and transforms Kenai into a bear, which can only be undone by finding his brother’s spirit at the northern lights near a certain mountain. While trying to find his way there, he runs across a young bear cub named Koda (Jeremy Suarez) who claims to know the way. But as with most Disney films, the two go through one adventure after another getting there, while also becoming close as brothers.
The adventures continue in the 2006 direct-to-video sequel as Kenai’s childhood friend Nita is grown up and ready to marry a man from a different tribe, but can’t as the spirits remember the pact that was made long ago between their families to be betrothed to one another. After having a spell placed on her and our bear heroes so they can understand one another, they team up to break the bond the spirits have placed on them, but Kenai and Nita rediscover their feelings for one another along the way, threatening to tear apart Koda and Kenai forever.
I had forgotten how good these films were until I was able to revisit them here. They serve up plenty of comedy, adventure and drama that all are sure to enjoy. Speaking of the comedy, SCTV alums Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas are reunited here and reprise their infamous Doug and Bob McKenzie characters somewhat, albeit in a kid friendly moose form this time around while providing some hilarious comedy relief. Watching these films over again on Blu-ray also added to the magic, as everythings looks and sounds as good as it possibly can here in a beautiful high-definition transfer.
On the extras front, there’s audio commentary on the first film that’s basically a giant skit by Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis in their Tuke and Rutt moose roles. Those who enjoyed the two from their SCTV days will find plenty to love here, while it may make some look up some of their classic McKenzie skits to see what all the fuss about, eh? “Paths of Discovery” is a 44 minute production documentary featuring directors Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker, producer Chuck Williams, executive producer Roy Disney, musician Phil Collins and more who share their experiences as they worked throughout the course of the film’s production. There’s also deleted scenes, music videos for both films and more.
Disney’s Brother Bear Two Movie Collection Blu-ray is nice set of family films that everyone will get something out of. Filled with fun characters, comedy, drama and loads of adventure, there’s never been a better time to either revisit some of Disney’s most underrated animated films or even see them for the first time. Keen parents and animation fans are bound to love hearing Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas back together, even if its in a kid-friendly environment. A cave of extra-features help round out a solid Blu-ray package that deserves a second look, and those looking for a furry good time on family night will want to hunt down this disc at their local store.
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Walt Disney Home Entertainment