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lupercal's Review of Brother Bear II

rated it: posted: Oct 05, 2006
Reviews: 517 | KF Animation Editor
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In case you're wondering, I gave the original 3.5. I thought it was Disney's last really good 2D movie. I'm afraid I can't repeat the trick with the sequel. It's not bad at all, but it's nowhere in the same league as the first. Maybe it's because I've just seen two animated films within 24 hours which both have Wanda Sykes in them (she was much better in the other one, BTW).

I'll assume you know the story of BBI (why would you watch the sequel first?). In many ways this is similar in feel, but not as emotionally compelling. The animation and backgrounds look very good indeed for a DTV, but I'm starting to get used to the idea that good looking DTV sequels aren't that rare anymore, so all I can really do is not subtract points for that. But for anyone who gave up on DTVs around the time of 'Return of Jafar', this will be a bit of a revelation.

Well, the plot is outlined below, so let me just go back to the thing that really hit me about the first one (again I'm assuming you've seen it. If not, the next paragraph is a major spoiler.)

Basically Kenai is turned from a human into a bear. There is an old Roman* tradition called Saturnalia, where things are turned upside down, but then turned back to normal at the end. I was expecting this. It didn't happen. I thought, 'Wow!'

*actually all Roman traditions are old. (end spoiler)

What gave me the heebee jeebies about this film was I could see that reversal coming in the sequel.

Oh, hell, here's another

*spoiler*


...and it didn't come. Though I'd kind of guessed it wouldn't, it took about two thirds of the movie.

*end spoiler*

And that pushed it into 2.5 stars for me.

So, the good: the plot isn't entirely predictable (I figured there were three possible endings, but didn't figure out the right one till fairly well into the movie). It looks damn good for a DTV. It reinforces the human-animal 'brotherhood' of the first film. The voice acting is adequate.

The bad: after being treated to Ben Fold's invigorating music in 'Over the Hedge' last night, I'm plunged back into the standard, production line schamtlzy, drippy Disney Ballads (several of them) here - courtesy of Melissa Etheridge.

Nita - the female (human) lead. I can't decide if she looks more like Mulan or Pocahontas. Suffice to say, seen there, done that.

The moose(s?) are still fairly pointless and annoying, but no more than the first time around, and since the first film was better, I suppose that makes them less annoying this time.

Extreme overdose of Aurora Borealis.

But look, the original was damn fine, and this one doesn't let it down as badly as a lot of sequels do. If you loved the first one, certainly give it a look. If you hated the first one, don't bother.

Pretty solid 2.5.

animated cartoon Brother Bear II © Disney
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Brother Bear II
3.1 stars / 5 ratings
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