Brother Bear ★★½ 2003 (G)
Rather grim but ultimately heartwarming coming-of-ager invoking the far superior “The Lion King,” and “Bambi.” Kenai (Phoenix) is a brash Native American youth living with his two brothers in the Pacific Northwest during the end of the Ice Age. After a bear attacks and kills his brother Sitka (Sweeney), Kenai is magically transformed into a bear himself. In his new hirsute form, Kenai learns some important lessons about nature with the help of orphaned bear cub Koda (Suarez). Much needed but underdeveloped comic relief comes from Thomas and Moranis as Cura pair of bickering moose. Largely hand-drawn animation is lushly beautiful but overshadowed by derivative plot and heavy-Hehanded message. Lackluster score by soft popmeister Phil Collins. 85m/C VHS, DVD . USD: Aaron Blaise, Robert Walker; W: Tab Murphy, Lorne Cameron, David Hoselton, Steve Bencich, Ron J. Friedman; M: Phil Collins, Mark Mancina; V: Joaquin Rafael (Leaf) Phoenix, Jeremy Suarez, Jason Raize, Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas, D.B. Sweeney, Joan Copeland, Michael Clarke Duncan, Harold Gould, Estelle Harris.