Brother Bear (2003)

(In French, On Blu-Ray, August 2015)  One thing about watching Disney films as an adult is noticing how many of them have crippling tonal issues.  Brother Bear, for instance, is explicitly based on presenting different visions of the same world – at one point, our protagonist undergoes a transformation that expands his mind, something that is shown with a looser art style, more colors and a shift to wide-screen ratio.  That’s not a bad thing.  But what can be worse are the film’s jarring shifts from respectful drama dealing with death, family and responsibility, to a comedy with silly animal sidekicks hamming it up.  The comedy undermines the other more serious material and makes the film feel far more lightweight than it should.  But, of course, none of this matters to the very young target public of the film, who just experience Brother Bear (with its cute talking animals!) as if everything of-course happened that way.  The animation feels a bit lacking compared to other contemporary Disney releases, but is still pretty good in absolute terms.  The story doesn’t necessarily goes where one expects it to, although some of the plot points along the way are fairly predictable.  It amounts to a Disney feature slightly less impressive than other ones, but still relatively good family entertainment.

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