Brother Bear

2003 film directed by Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker

Brother Bear is a 2003 traditionally-animated musical fantasy comedy-drama movie produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures on November 21, 2003. It is about a human named Kenai who turns into a bear and discovers brotherhood. The 43rd animated feature in the Disney animated features canon, it was originally titled Bears, and was the third and final Disney animated movie produced mainly by the Feature Animation studio at Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida, that studio was shut down in March 2004, not long after the release of this movie in favor of computer animated features.[2] The movie received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature, but lost to Finding Nemo. A sequel, Brother Bear 2, was released on August 29, 2006.

Brother Bear
Directed byAaron Blaise
Robert Walker
Written byTab Murphy
Lorne Cameron
David Hoselton
Steve Bencich
Ron J. Friedman
Produced byChuck Williams
StarringJoaquin Phoenix
Jeremy Suarez
Rick Moranis
Dave Thomas
Jason Raize
D.B. Sweeney
Narrated byHarold Gould
Edited byTim Mertens
Music byPhil Collins
Mark Mancina
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • November 21, 2003 (2003-11-21)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$46 million[1]
Box office$250.4 million[1]


In post-Ice Age North America, the local Native Americans believe in the Great Spirits, who create life and are said to appear in the form of an aurora. Three brothers, Kenai (Joaquin Phoenix), the youngest, Denahi (Jason Raize), the middle, and Sitka (D.B. Sweeney), the elder, return to the tribe to receive totems, necklaces that take the shape of animals, with each animal being representative of something the brothers must achieve to prove themselves as men. Unlike Sitka, who receives the eagle of guidance, and Denahi, the wolf of wisdom, Kenai receives the bear of love, to which he objects, believing them to be thieves; he makes his point a fact when a grizzly bear steals their basket of fish. Kenai and his brothers pursue the bear; when the fight culminates on top of a glacier, Sitka sacrifices himself to save his brothers, by dislodging the glacier, but the bear survives. Following Sitka's funeral, Kenai takes it upon himself to slay the bear, blaming it for his brother's death. After fighting and slaying the animal, Sitka's spirit appears in the form of a bald eagle, and the Spirits transform Kenai into a bear. Denahi arrives and, thinking that the bear also killed Kenai, vows to avenge his brother by killing it.

Kenai falls down some rapids and is healed by Tanana (Joan Copeland), the tribal shaman; while she does not speak the bears' language, but advises him to travel to the mountain where Sitka's spirit will turn him back into a human, but only if he atones for his crime; vanishing without explanation. Kenai discovers he can now communicate with animals, meeting two moose called Rutt (Rick Moranis) and Tuke (Dave Thomas). He ends up getting caught in a hunter's trap, but is freed by Koda (Jeremy Suarez), a sassy bear cub. The two strike a deal; in exchange for leading Koda to an annual salmon run, he will take Kenai to the mountain. The two form a brother-like relationship, and Koda reveals his mother is missing. The two are pursued by Denahi, who is out to avenge Kenai; unbeknownst to him, his brother is the bear he is hunting. Upon reaching the salmon run, where several bears congregate, including the leader Tug (Michael Clarke Duncan. Kenai accepts his new surroundings and is comfortable living amongst the bears. During a discussion, Koda tells a story about his mother getting involved in a fight with human hunters; this reminds Kenai of his brothers' fight with the bear, and he realizes, to his horror, that he killed Koda's mother.

Horrified by his actions, Kenai runs away in guilt, but Koda follows him. Upset, he confesses to Koda that he killed his mother, and the bear cub runs off in grief; an apologetic Kenai then travels to the mountain on his own. Meanwhile. Rutt and Tuke have a fight, but reconcile with each other in front of Koda, prompting him to forgive Kenai. On the mountain, Kenai is attacked by Denahi, but Koda steals his spear. Out of love for the bear cub, Kenai sacrifices himself, and Sitka's spirit transforms him back into a human, much to the surprise of Koda and Denahi. Upon realizing that the cub needs him due to his own mistakes, Kenai asks to be transformed back into a bear, with Denahi's support. Sitka complies, and transforms his brother back to his bear form, and Koda is briefly reunited with his mother's spirit, before she and Sitka depart to the spirit realm. In the end, Kenai lives with the other bears, and gains his title as a man through living as a bear.


The reaction from movie reviewers was mixed to negative with many panning the movie as coping older Disney movies like The Lion King and the 20th Century Fox movie Ice Age (although Brother Bear began production before Ice Age did), while others defended the movie as a different and resonable variation of the theme. The popular American movie critics Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper have given positive reviews of the movie. however so far, Brother Bear holds a rating of 38% in Rotten Tomatoes, which says that "Brother Bear is gentle and pleasant if unremarkable Disney fare, with so-so animation and generic plotting".[3]

Voice castEdit

  • Joaquin Phoenix as Kenai, the youngest of three brothers who gets turned into a bear, to teach him to see through their eyes
  • Jeremy Suarez as Koda, a wisecracking grizzly bear cub, who helps Kenai on his journey to where the Lights Touch the Earth
  • Rick Moranis as Rutt, a comic Canadian moose
  • Dave Thomas as Tuke, another comic Canadian moose
  • Jason Raize as Denahi, the middle brother
  • D.B. Sweeney as Sitka, the oldest brother
  • Joan Copeland as Tanana, the shaman-woman of Kenai's tribe
  • Michael Clarke Duncan as Tug, a wise old cave bear
  • Estelle Harris as Mabel, old lady bear
  • Darko Cesar as foreign bear
  • Frank Welker as Animals' vocal effects (uncredited)
  • Additional Voices Charlie Adler, Lori Alan, Carlos Alazraqui, Pamela Adlon, Matt Adler, Steve Alterman, Stephen Apostolina, Jack Blessing, Jack Angel, Dee Bradley Baker, Michael Bell, Bob Bergen, Gregg Berger, Lara Cody, Rodger Bumpass,Catherine Cavadini, Julianne Buescher, Nancy Cartwright, Paul Briggs, Kimberly Brooks, Doc Kane, Corey Burton, Stephen J. Anderson, Cam Clarke, Robert Cotworthy, Michael Corbett, David Cowgill, Randy Crenshew, Jim Cummings, E.G. Daily, John Cygan, Jennifer Darling, Debi Derryberry, Jonathan Dokuchitz, Dan Gilvezan, Patti Deutsch, Paul Eiding, Bill Farmer, Byron Howard, John DeMita, Chad Einbinder, Patrick Fraley, Sandy Fox, Jeff Fischer, Eddie Frierson, Earl Ghaffari, Michael Gough, Don Fullilove, Lex Lang, Hope Levy, Neil Kaplan, Tom Kane, David Kaye, Carole Jeghers, Rosanna Huffman, Daamen J. Krall, Marsha Kramer, Tim Mertens, David McCharen, Barbara Goodson, Mona Marshall, Anne Lockhart, David Michie, Lara Jill Miller, Michael Lindsay, Sherry Lynn, Mickie McGowan, Jim Meskimen, Rob Paulsen, Bobbi Page, Paul Pape, Patrick Pinney, Phil Proctor, Peter Renaday, Tony Oliver, Michelle Ruff, Don Hall, Susie Stevens-Logan, Brian Pimental, Andre Sogliuzzo, Justin Shenkarow, Terrence Stone, Skip Stellrecht, Steve Susskind, Paula Tiso, Marcelo Tubert, Kari Wahlgren, Russi Taylor, Wally Wingert, Frank Welker, Brian Tochi, David Zyler, Jim Ward, Billy West, Ezra Weisz, & Dave Wittenberg.


Crew Position
Directed by Aaron Blaise
Robert Walker
Produced by Chuck Williams
Written by Tab Murphy
Lorne Cameron
David Hoselton
Steve Bencich
Ron J. Friedman
Songs by Phil Collins
Original Score by Mark Mancina
Phil Collins
Associate Producer Igor Khait
Art Director Robh Ruppel
Film Editor Tim Mertens
Artistic Supervisors Steve Anderson (Story supervisor)
Jeff Dickson (Layout supervisor)
Barry R. Kooser (Background supervisor)
Phillip S. Boyd & Chrisine Lawrence-Finney (Clean-up supervisor)
Garrett Wren (Effects supervisor)
Supervising Animators Byron Howard (Kenai-Bear)
Alex Kuperschmidt (Koda)
Ruben A. Aquino (Denahi)
James Young Jackson (Kenai-Human)
Tony Stanley (Rutt)
Broose Johnson (Tuke)
Anthony Wayne Michaels (Sitka)
Tom Gately (Tanana)
Rune Brandt Bennicke (Tug & Koda's Mom)
Background Stylist
Character Design
Artistic Coordinator
Production Manager
Xiangyuan Jie
Rune Brandt Bennicke
Kirk Bodyfelt
Bruce Anderson


Song Performed by Available on the soundtrack disc? Heard in the film?
Great Spirits Tina Turner Yes Yes
Transformation Phil Collins Yes No
Transformation Bulgarian Women's Choir Yes Yes
On My Way Phil Collins Yes Yes (except Koda sings the first few lyrics and the last lyric)
On My Way (this version contains Koda singing the first few lyrics and the last lyric) Jeremy Suarez
Phil Collins
No Yes
Welcome Phil Collins Yes No
Welcome Phil Collins
The Blind Boys of Alabama
Yes Yes
No Way Out (theme from Brother Bear) Phil Collins Yes Yes
Look Through My Eyes Phil Collins Yes Yes (also on bonus material)

Score by Mark Mancina/Phil Collins

Deleted songsEdit

  • "The Fishing Song" - This was intended for the salmon run sequence, but was replaced by "Welcome".
  • "This Can't Be My Destiny" This was song by Phil Collins. But unfortunately it never made it to the movie. The song was however mention in the special feature by Phil Collins. This song was never released.


Brother Bear 2 was released August 29, 2006.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Brother Bear". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 2016-01-13. Retrieved 2015-08-02.
  2. Brother Bear (2003) - News
  3. Animated News » Brother Bear Two Thumbs Up!

Other websitesEdit