Monday, July 30, 2012

My Summer of Sequels: "Brother Bear 2" (2006)

In case it isn't self-evident by now, My Summer of Sequels was a bad idea.  And it is making me feel bad.  About the only thing that's saving me at this point is that all of these sequels are really short; they've topped out at about an hour and twenty minutes, so I've been going through them pretty quickly.  Or maybe it's more correct to say they've been going through me.

By far the most interesting thing about "Brother Bear 2" is the fact that it even exists.  I happen to like "Brother Bear" a lot, and I will happily defend it.  It is, after all, one of the last significant gasps of beautiful hand-drawn animation in a major Disney Animated Canon feature after all.  But I do not recall the film being all that popular outside of a small cult audience.  So we are obviously at the point where Disney was just about ready to make sequels to anything.

We join Kenai -here voiced by a profoundly unenthusiastic Patrick "McJustHappenedToBeOnTheLotThatDay" Dempsy- living the ultimate Otherkin dream, and loving life with his adopted brother Koda and the other bears.  What possible conflict could there be here?  Well, turns out back when Kenai was a human, the spirits essentially betrothed him to a girl.  If she marries anyone else, the spirits will be offended and destroy everything.  They need to travel together and take a thing up to a place at a time and do stuff with it to break the bond and chill the spirits out.

This... is actually kind of interesting.  But here's the thing.  In the universe of "Brother Bear", the spirits that run the universe are absolutely demonstrably real and they go around changing things into other things and causing people to be destined to be together forever.  So how come this issue hasn't ever come up before?  Surely this isn't the first time one of a pair of people destined to be together has been transformed has it?  You would think this wouldn't even be much of a shocker anymore.

Not surprisingly, the writers do not do anything interesting at all with this kind-of-interesting premise.  The journey is extremely predictable and I could easily see the major story beats coming, though they go for the less-terrible solution to the problem in the end, so there's that.  Eh, at least Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis are back as Tuke and Rutt and since they are enthusiastic it's fun to have more of them.  The terrific music from the original film is not back, and in it's place is...

Yeah, let's talk about the songs in these sequels I've seen.  Because as mentioned before they tend not to be very good, almost as if they're only there in the movie as an obligation.  They all feel a little samey and remarkably mediocre, like what you'd here on the local radio station with "Mix" somewhere in it's name in the post-Hootie and the Blowfish era.  Bland, twangy Adult Alternative that is mostly by singers I did not recognize, and sometimes by singers I was surprised to hear in this context as they can do much more interesting things.  It's the latter case here, where Melissa Ethridge gamely sings an opening song with lyrics that feel like a grab-bag of themes from the original film's songs.

So, there's "Brother Bear 2" for you.  Next we'll tackle one of the strangest sequels of all.

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Sketch of the Day!

Oh... bear...?

The Last Page in my (Middle) Spring 2008 Sketchbook

Incidentally, I have been sharing older art here for... reasons.  Good reasons, I assure you.  I will elaborate when the time is right.

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