The pagan northwest Indian world was not a pleasant place. Feuds were common, killings were frequent, babies and the elderly were left out to die, animals were driven off cliffs to kill them en masse, and shamanism, with its totemism, scared everyone. Every spirit was out to get you – all the animals, trees, and nature-embodied spirits. When something bad happened, you were sure someone put a curse on you so you’d put a curse on him, and this would escalate to killing. The shamen manipulated all this for their own benefit.
This pagan world is the world of BROTHER BEAR, but it has been highly sanitized. Here, the shaman is a loving guide, the ancestors and totems are there to help you, and, for the most part, people seem to be having fun worshipping nature. . . a far cry from the truth. This pagan worldview of the movie is seamless, but it shows how far we’ve descended into darkness from the light of civilization. This truth about pagan cultures must be told to any child who sees this movie. On the other hand, BROTHER BEAR has a moral point, which is not to seek revenge, but to try to see things through another’s eyes.
Kenai is a young Indian boy with two older brothers. He is hotheaded and always fighting with his middle brother. When a bear steals their catch of fish, Kenai goes after the bear. His two brothers follow to protect him. Kenai’s hate for bears is ironic because the Great Spirits have given him his totem – a carved bear, the symbol of love. He is deeply disappointed. In the battle with his bear, his older brother, Sitka, gives up his life to save Kenai. Kenai, enraged, goes after the bear to kill it. When he does, the Great Spirits turn him into a bear. His other brother, Denahi, thinks that Kenai has been killed and now wants to kill Kenai the bear. Kenai discovers a little bear cub, Koda. Koda leaves him to the mountain where the ancestors appear, so that he can turn back into a man. Along the way they meet two crazy moose, Rutt and Tuke, who add comic humor to the quest. Kenai’s transformation is complete when he finds out it was Koda’s mother he had killed.
BROTHER BEAR is a three-hankie movie. The reviewers were crying. The ending will nail the audience. It is very touching. The animation is terrific, even though it’s 2-D, with beautiful paintings of the country. In fact, the animals and the countryside become characters in the movie. When Kenai turns into a bear, his vision sharpens and the movie becomes cinemascope.
All the people who worked on this movie whom we interviewed wanted the movie to give positive messages to children. The problem is that the movie makes one think that the ancestors will rescue us and that overcoming one’s sin nature can be achieved by just looking at the world from another point of view. The only answer for sinful, fallen man is Jesus Christ. Thus, by suggesting that there is another way, BROTHER BEAR, as sweet, warm-hearted and well made as it is, will lead children astray.
Please address your comments to:
Michael Eisner, Chairman/CEO
The Walt Disney Company
(Buena Vista, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax)
Dick Cook, Chairman
Walt Disney Pictures
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
Phone: (818) 560-1000
SUMMARY: Disney’s animated BROTHER BEAR tells the story of Kenai, an American Indian boy who learns to love nature. Beautifully animated with an emotionally powerful ending, BROTHER BEAR nevertheless has a pagan worldview that includes witchcraft and ancestor worship.
(PaPaPa, OO, EE, B, VV, M) Strong pagan worldview includes witchcraft, totem worship, environmentalism, and ancestor worship, but with a moral message that you need to be transformed and look through another person's eyes so you can understand their point of view; no foul language; lots of animated action violence with bears fighting, Indians fighting, bears fighting Indians, animals killed, Indians killed, mom dropping off cliff; no sex; no nudity; no smoking; no drinking; and, revenge rebuked.
GENRE: Animated Drama/Fantasy