“Brother Bear,” a traditionally drawn animated feature currently in theaters, is worth seeing.
“Bear” is set in the distant past, when humans lived in caves and shared the earth with mammoths and other creatures. The primitive culture has a faith peppered with New Age ideas. Fans of the Earth’s Childrenbooks by Jean Auel may wonder if she influenced this film as well.
In the film, a young man named Kenai yearns to be given great responsibility. During the ceremony when he is supposed to become a man, the tribal spiritual leader tells Kenai that his life’s calling is to love. He resents being given what he perceives as a weak destiny.
Only after becoming a bear—literally—does he begins to understand the importance of the call to love. Though much of the film’s spiritualism is far from Christian ideas, the importance of the call to love is an idea parents everywhere should hope to instill in their children.
“Brother Bear” succeeds because of the story’s message. It also boasts some clever dialogue and some amusing characters. Occasionally, some of the dialogue is a bit anachronistic, but children will not catch that, and parents will probably just be amused.
The story, characters and dialogue outshine the animation in this film; the artistry is good, but no scenes stand out as breathtaking.
Nevertheless, “Brother Bear” is a good choice for the family this holiday season.
Roger Thomas is pastor of First Baptist Church in Ablemarle, N.C.
MPAA Rating: G
Directors: Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker
Writers: Steven Bencich, Lorne Cameron, Ron J. Friedman & David Hoselton
Voices: Kenai: Joaquin Phoenix; Koda: Jeremy Suarez; Denahi: Jason Raize; Rutt: Rick Moranis; Tuke: Dave Thomas; Sitka: D.B. Sweeney.
Visit the movie’s official Web site.