Listen to Your Heart
Brother Bear 2 continues the adventures of Kenai, a human who turned into a bear in the first Brother Bear film. Although sequels -- even a few from Disney -- are often disappointing, this one is a keeper, mostly because of its charming story and extraordinary background music.
Emerging from his first experience with hibernation, Kenai (voiced by Patrick Dempsey) decides to take Koda (voiced by Jeremy Suarez), the young cub he became a bear to protect, on a journey to Crowberry Ridge for spring berries. Along the way, they come in contact with old friends Rutt and Tuke (voiced by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas), two humorous, wisecracking moose who want advice on how to get the attention of a pair of moosettes (voiced by Andrea Martin and Catherine O’Hara). They also meet Kenai’s childhood sweetheart Nita (voiced by Mandy Moore), who’s grown into a spirited young woman with a sense of humor and a love of adventure. And, as luck would have it, Nita is on a mission only Kenai can help her accomplish.
Much to little Koda’s chagrin, Kenai agrees to accompany Nita to Hanoki Falls in order to assist her in the burning of an amulet he gave her when they played in that area many years ago. If this doesn’t happen, Nita will never be able to marry. As they travel together over snowy mountains and raging rivers, these two overcome many obstacles and rediscover their deep feelings for each other. Soon Nita is faced with making the most important decision of her life. Will she listen to her heart? If so, what do the Great Spirits have in store for her?
Although the painterly animation style of Brother Bear 2 pleases the eye, it’s the background music and songs that give this film such an emotional impact. “Welcome to this Day” and “It Will Be Me,” both written specifically for the movie by Melissa Etheridge, evoke intense feelings of joy and love, respectively. When Josh Kelley joins Etheridge in singing "It Feels Like Home” (written by Matthew Gerrard and Robbie Nevil), this beautiful duet almost brought tears to my eyes.
DVD bonus items for Brother Bear 2 include: “Behind the Music,” a wonderful featurette with Etheridge explaining her inspiration for the great songs she wrote for the movie and how she feels about the way they’re used in the film; and a fun quiz in which viewers help out Rutt and Tuke by answering trivia questions about the movie.
I'm happy to report that Brother Bear 2 is another Disney treat for the entire family.
(Released by Walt Disney Home Entertainment and rated “G” by MPAA. Bonus materials not rated.)