Brother Bear Mark it: Phil Collins officially has nothing more to teach us. The tunes he's composed for Brother Bear are so generic, they're modular: You could… G PT85M Animation Kids and Family Joaquin Phoenix Michael Clarke Duncan Rick Moranis Jeremy Suarez D.B. Sweeney
Movie Review

Brother Bear

MPAA Rating: G
Joaquin Phoenix, Brother Bear | OH, 'BROTHER' A hidebound non-classic reveals Disney's hand-drawn stress fractures
OH, 'BROTHER' A hidebound non-classic reveals Disney's hand-drawn stress fractures
EW's GRADE
C

Details Rated: G; Length: 85 Minutes; Genres: Animation, Kids and Family; With: Joaquin Phoenix

Mark it: Phil Collins officially has nothing more to teach us. The tunes he's composed for Brother Bear are so generic, they're modular: You could literally reposition a few Lego-like chords, shapes, and rhythms and create any Phil Collins song ever written. That would be just fine, if ''Bear'' had any flair to relieve the recycled pop monotony. Sadly, the snoozy blues are suited to this last-ditch swing at recapturing Disney's hand-drawn glory days; the film blatantly strip-mines ''The Lion King,'' ''Beauty and the Beast,'' and anything else its makers can get their paws on.

Despite some gorgeously Miyazaki-esque mattes and a grimly compelling story line -- a brash young Native American (voiced by Joaquin Phoenix) tries to avenge a brother's death by killing the bear responsible, only to be mystically sheathed in the dead beast's skin and hunted by his surviving brother -- the film never really digs in its heels. Collins warbles genially about a ''dark place'' over one particularly poignant scene, raising the question of whether he (or the filmmakers) actually knows what a dark place is.

Originally posted Oct 22, 2003 Published in issue #735 Oct 31, 2003 Order article reprints