There are a handful of Disney movies that slip through the cracks when people discuss the great animated films of the Mouse House. One of the forsaken few is “Brother Bear.” Even though it was nominated for an Academy Award and made a sizable amount at the box office, it never stuck in the minds of viewers the way “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” or “The Lion King” did.
Disney gives audiences another opportunity to experience the touching tale of Kenai with their 3-disc Special Edition Blu-ray collection of “Brother Bear” and “Brother Bear 2.” As usual, both movies are restored and feature Disney’s Enhanced High Definition Picture and Sound.
In the original, a careless boy named Kenai is magically changed into a bear in post-Ice Age North America. The Spirits transformed him to teach the boy valuable life lessons. Kenai meets an assortment of interesting creatures in his adventures through the forest, including bear cub Koda, two moose named Rutt and Tuke, woolly mammoths, raucous rams, and others.
The story continues with “Brother Bear 2” as Kenai embarks on a journey to break the strong bonds between himself and his friend Nita. If the bond remains unbroken, it could ruin Nita’s marriage plans with another man and possibly hurt his relationship with his brother Koda.
There’s obviously a change in quality between “Brother Bear” and “Brother Bear 2.” One was made to be released in theaters whereas the other went straight-to-DVD. Most children won’t notice the difference, but their parents will.
Both movies benefit from the high-definition treatment they were given. The picture on each film is clean and vibrant. The 5.1 surround sound puts viewers in the middle of the action with excellent audio effects, touching dialogue, and a bombastic musical score.
There are plenty of extra features included for “Brother Bear.” Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas provide audio commentary. A few featurettes entitled "Art Review," "Bear Legends," and "Making Noise: The Art of Foley" are here also. "Paths of Discovery: The Making of 'Brother Bear'" is made up of four segments going behind the scenes of the production. Deleted scenes and outtakes are included as well.
A never-before-heard song entitled "Fishing Song," the song "Transformation" with its original lyrics, the sing-along song "On My Way," and Phil Collins' music video for "Look Through My Eyes" round out the special features. “Brother Bear 2’s” bonus material is made up of a featurette entitled “Behind the Music” and includes interviews with Producers Jim Ballantine and Susan Kirch, director Ben Gluck and other notable members of the sequel team.
If you’re an avid collector of Disney’s Blu-ray upgrades, the “Brother Bear / Brother Bear 2” 3-Disc Special Edition is an essential entry in your home movie collection. A satisfying amount of special features will please consumers and make it a worthy purchase. “Brother Bear” might not be as popular as many of the Disney classics, but it deserves another look.
The “Brother Bear / Brother Bear II” 3-Disc Special Edition is available now on Blu-ray.