Brother Bear is the very Disney tale of a young bear-hating man named Kenai (voiced by Joaquin Phoenix) transformed into a bear and embarking on a journey with an orphaned cub. It's beautiful look at, but minor and sort of inert. I don't deny Disney the right to make a minor cartoon now and then (part of the industry's problem is the expectation that every cartoon should be a $200+ million blockbuster), but Brother Bear is oddly thin. Even the gorgeous visuals fade from your head as you leave the theater.
It goes down pleasantly enough as you watch. In fact, Brother Bear is rife with wonderful details. A prologue establishes only that the story takes place "a long time ago"; this allows the artists a certain freedom in their creation of a vaguely North American environment. There are rustling trees, blocks of ice, and swirls of light, all with an unfussy natural flow, not to mention gorgeous colors (it's not for nothing that the frame switches to a wider aspect ratio once the lead character turns into a bear).
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