This week, we watched Brother Bear 2, the sequel to the Disney animated film from 2003. This film features a largely new cast, with only four of the original voice actors returning. The main character of Kenai, voiced by Joaquin Phoenix in the original, is now voiced by Patrick Dempsey. The young cub Koda maintains the voice of Jeremy Suarez as well as the two moose, who maintain the voices of Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis. In fact, Brother Bear 2 was the last film that Moranis was a part of before retiring from acting for many years (His return to the screen will be in Disney’s Shrunk, which you can read more about here)
As someone who has never been a fan of the first Brother Bear, I don’t recall ever taking the time to watch this one until now. Though I can’t say that this movie increased my liking of the franchise, it is not a bad sequel, nor a bad film in general. One of the things that immediately stuck out to me was the background music. The Phil Collins music of the first one was received with mixed reviews, with some loving it and others finding it less effective than Tarzan. Though the songs in Brother Bear 2 are not by Phil Collins, they are great nonetheless. The contemporary music that was often played in animated movies of the 2000s widely varies in its success for me. Sometimes I find it incredibly powerful, whereas other times it is just plain hokey or unnecessarily dates the film. Here, it works for me with the songs pairing nicely with the beautiful scenery of the Pacific Northwest. The animation is indeed very pretty, which is always a nice touch in these sometimes ugly DisneyToon sequels.
One of my favorite things about the original were the Canadian moose, and they are great fun here as well. Now, they are paired up with moosettes, voiced by the always delightful Andrea Martin and Catherine O’Hara- who are Canadian themselves! Another great addition to the cast is the future voice of Rapunzel, Mandy Moore, playing a childhood friend of Keanu.
For someone who is a fan of Brother Bear, this film will probably be to your liking. However, even if you aren’t, there is nothing here that is particularly bad and so I believe it deserves a watch- even if it is just for the Canadian moose.
Next week, we will be watching The Fox and the Hound 2. Happy watching!