Brother Bear
Review By: Gringo

This movie is apparently one of the last 'traditionally' animated ones that will be made by Disney. Judging by the social themes and questions it tackles, that may turn out to be either a disappointment or a joy, depending on your point of view. Because Brother Bear turns out not to be the story of a human who finds out what life is like as a bear. Oh no! It's all about homosexuality.

To be precise, the question of the lead character Kenai's struggle to accept the fact he's gay. At the start of the film, we see Kenai as a human being. He's hanging round with his two brothers, doing macho things like hunting, fishing and wanting to be a grown up. Here's where the first whispers of questionable sexuality creep in. We learn that Kenai is worried about his "manhood" ceremony, and wonders what kind of totem he's going to get.

See, Kenai's brother was given an eagle totem when he reached manhood. Apparently, it gives him leadership skills, because the eagle is a strong, manly creature. What does Kenai get? A bear with big eyes and a soft look on his face. We're told it means his destiny revolves around him following a path of love. Quite.

Here's where the representation of gay bashing starts. Kenai's brother Denahi (do all their names end in the letter i?) proceeds to accuse Kenai of loving flowers and skipping, and cajoles him for essentially being a fairy. The youngster, confused about his sexuality and wary of being called a fag, gets hostile - a sure sign he's got something to cover up.

And so it meanders on for a while, interspersed by a few Phil Collins songs. Great, eh? But then tragedy strikes! The alpha male eldest brother is killed during a battle with a bear, and the remaining brothers are mightily pissed off. The way I see it, this is Disney telling the audience that the eldest brother died from AIDS. I bet he fumbled around with some guy in a porno theatre (because there are so many in the mountains) one time, then decided to be 'straight-acting' the rest of his life. And now he's dead.

That's what you get for living a lie. Anyway, Kenai is enraged and seeks out the bear that killed his brother, in other words he's going to bash him some gay people because it's their poisoned sperm that finished the guy off. But after killing the bear that killed his brother, Kenai's dead brother turns him into a bear (this article is just so well written). To simplify things: to come to terms with his life and accept that the bear (gay man) didn't kill his brother, Kenai must first learn what it's like to be a bear (gay man).

There's a bunch of wacky interactions with some talking moose and some nonsense about finding the top of a mountain, but by this point I was lost in the subtext. On his journey, Kenai meets Koda, a rather annoying little bear (camp gay man). They don't make friends quickly and it's only after a long journey together that they're able to realise that hey, they might be friends. Cliché Disney and cliché story.

At the end of the movie, Kenai is turned back into a human being (straight man) after learning all the magical things like nature is wonderful and bears (gay people) aren't nasty creatures. So what happens next? Why, the only logical thing! Kenai's wish to be turned into a bear permanently is granted! Yay! He embraces his homosexuality and goes off for a long life of bareback sex and glory holes.

Unless, of course, he gets AIDS and dies.


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