Brother Bear |LINK|
Brother Bear is a 2003 American animated musical fantasy comedy-drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 44th Disney animated feature film, it was directed by Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker (in their feature directorial debuts) and produced by Chuck Williams, from a screenplay written by Tab Murphy, Lorne Cameron, David Hoselton, and the writing team of Steve Bencich and Ron J. Friedman. The film stars the voices of Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Suarez, Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas, Jason Raize (in his only film role), and D.B. Sweeney. Brother Bear follows an Alaska native boy named Kenai as he pursues a bear and kills it, but the Spirits, incensed by this unnecessary death, change Kenai into a bear himself as punishment. In order to be human again, Kenai must travel to a mountain where the Northern lights touch the earth.
In a post-ice age Alaska, the local tribes believe all creatures are created through the Great Spirits, who are said to appear in the form of an aurora. A trio of brothers, Kenai, the youngest; Denahi, the middle; and Sitka, the eldest, return to their tribe in order for Kenai to receive his totem, necklaces in the shapes of different animals. The particular animals they represent symbolize what they must achieve to call themselves men. Unlike Sitka, who gained the eagle of guidance, and Denahi, who gained the wolf of wisdom, Kenai receives the bear of love. He objects to his totem, stating that bears are thieves, and believes his point is made a fact when a brown bear steals their basket of salmon. Kenai and his brothers pursue the bear, but a fight ends on top of a glacier, during which Sitka gives his life to save his brothers by dislodging the glacier, although the bear survives the fall. After Sitka's funeral, an enraged Kenai blames the bear for Sitka's death. He hunts down and chases the bear up onto a rocky cliff, fighting and eventually slaying it. The Spirits, represented by Sitka's spirit in the form of a bald eagle, arrive and transform Kenai into a bear after the dead bear's body evaporates and joins them. Denahi arrives and, falsely believing that Kenai was killed by the bear from earlier, vows to avenge Kenai by hunting it down.
Kenai falls down some rapids, survives, and is healed by Tanana, the shaman of his tribe. She does not speak the bear language, but advises him to return to the mountain to find Sitka and be turned back to a human, but only when he atones for his actions; she vanishes without an explanation. Kenai quickly discovers that the wildlife can now speak to him, meeting a pair of moose brothers named Rutt and Tuke. He gets caught in a trap, but is freed by an outgoing bear cub named Koda. They make a deal: Kenai will escort Koda to an annual salmon run and then the cub will lead Kenai to the mountain. Along the way the two eventually form a brother-like relationship. While riding on the backs of a mammoth herd, Koda reveals that his mother is missing. The two are hunted by Denahi, who is still determined to avenge Kenai, unaware that the bear he is pursuing is actually Kenai himself. Eventually, Kenai and Koda reach the salmon run, where a large number of bears live as a family, including the leader Tug. Kenai accepts his new surroundings and is comfortable living with the other bears. During a discussion among the bears, Koda tells a story about his mother recently fighting human hunters on a glacier, reminding Kenai of his and his brothers' fight with the bear that led to Sitka's death, making him realize that the entire time, the bear he killed was Koda's mother.
Horrified of what he has done, Kenai runs away in a fit of guilt, but Koda soon follows him. Downhearted, Kenai confesses the truth to Koda, who runs away, grief-stricken that Kenai was responsible for his mother's death out of avenging Sitka. An apologetic Kenai leaves to reach the mountain. Meanwhile, Rutt and Tuke, having had a falling-out, reconcile in front of Koda, prompting him to forgive Kenai. On the mountain, Kenai is cornered by Denahi, but their battle is interrupted by Koda, who steals Denahi's spear. Kenai sacrifices himself for Koda, out of love, prompting Sitka to appear and turn him back into a human, much to Denahi and Koda's surprise. However, upon realizing that Koda needs him because of his own mistake, Kenai asks Sitka to transform him back into a bear with Denahi's support. Sitka complies, and Kenai is transformed back into a bear. Koda is reunited briefly with the spirit of his mother before she and Sitka return to the spirit world. In the end, Kenai lives with the rest of the bears and gains his title as a man, through being a bear.
Following the critical and commercial success of The Lion King, Disney chairman and CEO Michael Eisner urged for more animal-centric animated features, and suggested a North American backdrop, taking particular inspiration from an original landscape painting by Albert Bierstadt that he bought. To track the "king" idea, the hero would naturally be a bear, the king of the forest. At the time, the original idea, which was inspired by King Lear, centered around an old blind bear who traveled the forest with his three daughters. In 1997, veteran animator Aaron Blaise came on board the project as director because he "wanted to be attached so that [he] could animate bears", and was soon joined by co-director Robert Walker. Because Blaise desired a more naturalistic story, Blaise and producer Chuck Williams produced a two-page treatment of a father-son story in which the son is transformed into a bear, and in the end, remains a bear. Thomas Schumacher, then-president of Walt Disney Feature Animation, approved the revised story and proclaimed, "This is the idea of the century." Tab Murphy, who had co-written the screenplays for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tarzan and Atlantis: The Lost Empire, came on board to write an early draft of the script.
After the project was green-lit, Blaise, Walker, and the story artists embarked on a research trip in August 1999 to visit Alaska where they traveled on the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes and Kodiak Island. They also traveled through Denali National Park and the Kenai Fjords National Park, where they visited Exit and Holgate Glacier. A year later, the production team took additional research trips through the Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and the Sequoia National Park. Around 2000, the story evolved into a tale in which the transformed Kenai is taken in by an older bear, Grizz, who was to be voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan. However, Blaise explained that "we were struggling [with the story], trying to get some charm into the film. So we turned Grizz into a cub named Koda", who was voiced by Jeremy Suarez. Because Blaise, Walker, and Williams enjoyed Duncan's vocal performance, Tug, the de facto leader of the bears at the salmon run, was written into the film.
In March 2001, Joaquin Phoenix confirmed he was cast in the film, exclaiming, "Oh, but forget the Oscar nomination (for Gladiator). The real pinnacle is that I'm playing an animated character in a Disney film. Isn't that the greatest? I play a Native American transformed into a bear. It's called The Bears. Don't call me a leading man. I don't care about that. I'm a leading bear. I am content!" After the filmmakers heard his audition tapes for Finding Nemo, Jeremy Suarez was cast as Koda.
As is typical for animation voice acting, Suarez and Phoenix voiced their roles separately, although they both did a recording session together at least two times. Voicing the moose brothers Rutt and Tuke, Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis performed simultaneously throughout the recording process. Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley, an associate professor who taught courses on Alaska Native philosophy at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, claimed he was never given a script, but was instead given "the dialogue that they had written, which was being told by a Native person". For his role as the Inuit Narrator, Kawagley translated the dialogue in written form into Yup'ik and faxed the translation back to the Disney studio. He later recorded his translation at an Anchorage studio while being videotaped for animation reference.
The film is traditionally animated but includes some CG elements such as "a salmon run and a caribou stampede". Layout artist Armand Serrano, speaking about the drawing process on the film, said that "we had to do a life drawing session with live bear cubs and also outdoor drawing and painting sessions at Fort Wilderness in Florida three times a week for two months [...]".. In 2001, Background supervisor Barry Kooser and his team traveled to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and studied with Western landscape painter Scott Christensen, where they learned to: "simplify objects by getting the spatial dimensions to work first and working in the detail later."
According to Ruben Aquino, supervising animator for the character of Denahi, Denahi was originally meant to be Kenai's father; later this was changed to Kenai's brother. Byron Howard, supervising animator for Kenai in bear form, said that earlier in production a bear named Grizz (who resembles Tug in the film and is voiced by the same actor) was supposed to have the role of Kenai's mentor. Art Director Robh Ruppel stated that the ending of the film originally showed how Kenai and Denahi get together once a year to play when the northern lights are in the sky.
Many critics and audiences also noted the use of the film's aspect ratio as a storytelling device. The film begins at a standard widescreen aspect ratio of 1.75:1 (similar to the 1.85:1 ratio common in U.S. cinema or the 1.78:1 ratio of HDTV), while Kenai is a human; in addition, the film's art direction and color scheme are grounded in realism. After Kenai transforms into a bear twenty-four minutes into the picture, the film itself transforms as well: to an anamorphic aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and towards brighter, more fanciful colors and slightly more caricatured art direction. Brother Bear was the first feature since The Horse Whisperer to do a widescreen shift. It was the only animated film to feature this technique, until The Simpsons Movie and Enchanted in 2007. 041b061a72