Brother Bear was released in 2003 and it was one of the last “traditionally” animated movies from Disney before they went all in with making their movies on computers. Brother Bear is a movie that I have a lot of love for, I remember enjoying watching this in the theatre and I recently watched it again and I feel that it holds up very well.
How to Download Brother Bear
You can download or stream the film from a digital platform such as Disney+. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice. If you like older Disney films, check out also our reviews of Bambi II and Chicken Little.
The Movie Review
Before I get to my thoughts on the movie, I want to go on a bit of a rant about Disney and the way they used to release things on DVD and VHS back in the day. Brother Bear is one of the last movies that I remember Disney making a big deal about when it was released on DVD/VHS.
Here in the UK, the Disney Store would give you a print, a plush, a snow globe, or some other kind of bonus for pre-ordering a movie from them. These were awesome little collectibles and it sucks that we do not get anything like this now. Disney is all in with their Disney Plus service so their home releases feel much more barebones these days. Heck, here in the UK, they even shut down all their physical Disney stores except the one in London!
Anyway, back to the movie! Brother Bear is about the relationship between a big bear called Kenai and a bear cub called Koda. The trailers make it seem like Kenai and Koda are just happy-go-lucky bears on their way on a quest to make it up a mountain and while that is part of the movie, this is far deeper than that.
You see, Kenai is actually a human that was turned into a bear after he killed a bear out of revenge for the death of his brother! He shortly finds Koda whose mother is missing and the two agree to help each other out. At the start of the movie, Kenai wants to be turned back into a human and he needs to make it all the way up the mountain to do this.
This is a movie where “the journey is the destination” in that the relationship, friendship, and brotherhood between Koda and Kenia is what the story is really about. Seeing Kenai become a better person (well bear) and realize that what he did was wrong and he needs to make it right is a great message for kids watching this movie to take in.
I am not going into spoilers here, but while Brother Bear has a lot of laughs in it, I do feel this is one of the more emotional movies from Disney, especially of those that were released in the early 00s. It is pretty hard not to get emotionally invested in this story when you are watching it. I have probably seen it five times and even with my most recent viewing, it got to me.
While Brother Bear may not be a movie that Disney likes to talk about, I do feel it is one of the best movies they made during this time period. I was recently on vacation in Disneyland Paris and they actually had a Brother Bear Christmas ornament so perhaps this is a sign that Disney may be willing to make some merch based on this underrated classic!
- This is a story that takes you on a real emotional roller coaster
- I loved the relationship between Kenai and Koda
- The animation here is beautiful
- This is one of the most underrated Disney movies in my opinion
- This is a movie that for the most part, Disney ignores these days
- The straight-to-DVD sequel, Brother Bear 2 is nowhere near as good as this