Brother Bear

No emotional argument, no meaning.

Ten years too late for this review, yet it's pretty clear why Brother Bear remains relatively unknown. Beyond Tina Turner, Bob and Doug McKenzie and a color palette that places brown and yellow characters against a brown and yellow background, the failure to provide Audiences with a well-rounded complete story robs this film of the typical Disney legacy.

Main Character Kenai (Joaquin Phoenix) gives us personal insight into taking revenge. And brother Denahi (Jason Raize) shows us the objective view of seeking the same (as a weak and somewhat coincidental Antagonist). But Influence Character Koda (Jeremy Suarez) and the supposed Relationship Story that develops between Kenai and Koda? It's as if the film is having a one-sided argument with itself--an uncomfortable and challenging experience for any Audience to sit through.

Koda offers nothing in terms of challenging Kenai's personal issues. His only impact comes as a result of backstory, rather than a quality of character or way of thinking. Robbed of this emotional component of story, the Audience looks to the Objective Story for relief. Boredom sets in the moment they discover nothing more than a simple Tale calling for a bear to walk from point A to point B.1

Brother Bear fails to engage the Audience's empathy by leaving out the emotional half of the film's argument. Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but when it comes to meaningful narrative warmth provides the lasting sustenance an Audience craves.

  1. A Tale says this happened, then this happened, then the End. Contrast this with a Story that argues only this could lead to that End. A Story is an Argument