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"Lincoln" isn't really about Lincoln
Blog, Movies
Posted on Apr 05 2013 by Greg

Steven Spielberg's superspectacular Lincoln looks great on Blu-ray, and actually works well within the intimacy of the home screen. With all its battle scenes and meticulous costuming and art direction, ultimately it's a people story brimming with characters and human conflicts. The trademark Spielberg back-lighting and other touches are very much in evidence, but the director does not take center stage and allows his cast to shine.

And shine they do. I can't add anything to the praise earned by Daniel Day-Lewis, who redefined Lincoln to millions who either remember early depictions by Henry Fonda or Raymond Massey, TV miniseries with actors like Hal Holbrook (who appears in this film as well) and perhaps most significantly, Royal Dano's voice and the Audio-Animatronics version at Disney Parks on both coasts -- a characterization that has been in the mass mindset since the 1964 New York World's Fair.

Lots has been said about Lincoln's voice, but I had no problem with that. He also comes off as a little bit of an eccentric, whose numerous stories and long jokes cause sighs and eye rolls among his staff and associates. In Literature 101 terms, he would be called the "Christ-like figure," speaking in parables to make his points and even dying at the end (hope that's not a spoiler!)

Sally Field, because she simply cannot be unlikable, brings that quality to Mary Todd Lincoln. She's never a villain or a harpy. She doesn't quite disappear into her role as Day-Lewis does -- for Pete's sake, it's Sally Field, whom we've loved for over four decades! Perhaps for that reason, and some powerful acting, few could create the Mary that she does. The argument scene between husband and wife is electrifying.

Why did I say this movie isn't about Lincoln? Because I believe it's more about the people few of us know about. From the African-American soldiers to those three frazzled men who risk wrath and even shooting to get support for the Amendment. Tommy Lee Jones' character isn't legendary, yet he spent his life trying to abolish slavery. And the remarkable David Strathairn -- perhaps Hollywood's most underrated actor -- is a standout as Secretary of State Seward. Everyone, regardless of their walk of life, can share the accomplishment. Lincoln of course, is the ultimate in leadership, but it's nice to see the little guys and ladies get their spotlight, too.

There is no commentary. Like War Horse, Spielberg offers his comments in bonus documentaries. Unlike the War Horse home release, the docs are shorter, but certainly fascinating and worth watching. The DVD only contains one short bonus feature; the two-disc Blu-ray contains more material.

And here's to you, Jackie Robinson
Blog, Movies, People
Posted on Apr 03 2013 by Greg
Before you go see the upcoming big screen "42," starring Harrison Ford, Christopher Meloni and Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson, you may want to see this award-winning documentary about the real Robinson. "Jackie Robinson: My Story" tells his life story ithrough rare footage and photographs from real life.

And it gives you an intense performance of Stephen Hill (Dead Man Down). "My Story" is just that. In a locker room setting, Hill as Robinson materializes to discuss his life and times directly to the camera -- to you, to young people.

This is a remarkable story about a towering American icon, not only of baseball, but of political activism, civil rights, the media and the changing times. The account is direct and honest, not only about Robinson's struggle to equality that seemed impossible at the time, but also of his issues with his people, his family and his son.

Hill's performance is understated, straightforward and matter-of-fact, which makes the moment he reflects on the loss of his son all the more effective. It should be noted that some language, particular racial slurs, are heard in this film, vicious things that were said in a less enlightened time.

As a production of limited budget but a lot of heart, "My Story" makes fine use of its source material. Even the music seems to fit the sequences.

The bonus feature, "Jackie Robinson: An American Hero" is a shorter version of the feature, using much of the same sources and a condensed edition of the same script. Perhaps this was created for groups and schools. It contains none of the offensive phrases heard in the other film.

Warren Schaeffer, who was also Director of Photography of "My Story," narrates offscreen. This distances the viewer from the impact of the dramatic story when compared to Hill speaking right to us in "My Story." Schaeffer does an earnest job, but it cannot compare to the effect carried off in the longer film. One wonders why they simply didn't edit "My Story" down, but perhaps the short film was made first.

It's worth mentioning the there was also a 1950 movie called The Jackie Robinson Story with the real Robinson playing himself. Considering his influence on history, it's about time a new movie is being released to theaters. This video makes a nice companion. Either way, this is a story worth telling and remembering.

Is Jon Stewart JUST directing a movie -- or negotiating?
Blog, TV
Posted on Mar 30 2013 by Greg

In general, many of TV's pillars are showing signs of cracks. It was news when Katie Couric anchored the CBS News, the results were mixed, now no one really talks much about the new guy.

Today is getting attention for backstage drama but not for the show, which is sagging.

As for late night, here's my view for all it's worth:

Jay is a poor little rich man. He's never really been accepted as the new Johnny, his early Tonight Show history was marred by Kushnik Kapers and no matter how he delivers and tries to be a company man, they don't seem to care.

I don't think he's terrible at interviews, depending on the guest. I skip over Jaywalking because too many of the people seem to be acting hopefuls who say dumb things to get on camera and be discovered.

My question for NBC is: what ever happened to the grand celebrationary sendoff? Johnny had a week of clips and tributes, Jay's going out angry.

Surely his departure this could have been managed in a more dignified, positive and ratings-getting way than Jay being treated like any old cog in a corporate wheel that's downsizing.

Fallon has a lot going for him -- impish nonthreatening looks, not-too-edgy, not-too-snarky humor, contemporary pop and rap and an easy, reassuring manner. I only wish he'd been given just a little more time to mature into the role. He tends to loooooove everyone and seems sincere about it, but sometimes the guest just isn't worthy.

The key thing that NBC is counting on with Fallon, beside ratings, is social networking. He has tweeted to fans from day one. The networks aren't sure where the new media is going but they want to be as ready as they can be. That's as big, or bigger, then demographics.

Conan can chug along as long as he wants in his little pond as the biggest fish. When he has a good guest, he does fine, but he's best in some sort of fringe, whether at 12:30 or on cable. He has a great band, though I miss Max.

Letterman still is a master of the craft, but he's not as passionate about pushing the envelope as he used to be. I respect the fact that he doesn't seem to be hiding his opinion about his guests.

His is the only show upon which I would watch an interview with Paris Hilton or a Kardashian because only Letterman can interview on two levels, seemingly deferential, yet letting his audience know just what he and they really think.

Ferguson is the most brilliant of all of them, an incredible mind so dynamic he can hardly get the words out fast enough. He is a curious blend of "vulgar lounge comic" as he puts it, sophisticated and intellectual ("Oh sure, another late night comic talking about Proust and existentialism!")

On the other hand, I love Secretariat and the vocal talents of the robot, but Ferguson sometimes falls into the repetition that affects Letterman. I miss "Murder She Wrote."

Not sure if Ferguson can -- or even wants -- Letterman's spot. He seems destined for other avenues for his talents. And he'd have to tone down the naughtiness.

That leaves the mystery of Jon Stewart. "The Daily Show" lacks some of its punch when there isn't an election, just like Saturday Night Live, but it still scores often. But is Jon Stewart REALLY leaving JUST to direct a film, or also to make some career negotiations?

Gotta wonder. His current show gives him a Peabody winning platform, but a bigger show and bigger audience (perhaps retaining some Daily Show elements) has got to be tempting.

My two cents.

A page turning "holiday" mystery thriller from a "Dark Shadows" icon
Blog, TV, Books
Posted on Mar 28 2013 by Greg
Kathryn Leigh Scott continues to amaze with Down and Out in Beverly Heels, the latest example of her many creative talents. In addition to being a pop culture icon ("Dark Shadows," "Police Squad"), publisher of a vast array of nonfiction/showbiz books and author of several books on the DS phenomenon, Scott has created her second novel -- this one a crisp, page turning mystery thriller in the grand tradition of TV series like "Columbo" and movies like "The Net."

Told in first person (which creates an uneasy feeling, at least to me, that the character may not survive the story), the lead character is Meg, the star of a classic TV light mystery show called "Holiday." The glamorous dream life she has lead, from the series and her marriage to Mr. Perfect to her beautiful home and seeming financial security, it all comes crashing down all over her. In a short time, she's alone, broke and a suspect of a costly fraud scheme.

As Scott unfolds the story and Meg searches for the truth, we get a glimpse of Hollywood through a prism of location filmings, lavish parties and nostalgia shows, every setting described in meticulous but never oppressive detail. She uses the traditional mystery simile, but with a nod and a smile. As a character, Meg is never at a loss for humor and irony.

Perhaps the most affecting world we explore is that of the downtrodden former Hollywood individual: a former director, a stuntman and sex symbol, to name a few. Each of these folks has carved out a life after the cameras stopped rolling for them, some very comfortable, some not so much.

I was touched when reading about the "street stars," a community who cling to former glory while living through soup kitchens, park benches and public restrooms. Meg is particularly close to one lady whose makeup and clothes are deteriorating as much as she and her mind are -- and of course, Meg is a breath or two away from becoming like her, as we all might be should we hit similar circumstances.

Surely this underground of Hollywood life is sadly a reality. And what an amazing nonfiction book or documentary it would make -- or maybe it has and I am not aware of it.

This is just the sort of book to relax with, to take on a trip, to read by the pool. This is page turning romp, filled with fiction fun, humor and heart.

The post-"Lion King" Disney story as told through 3 recent releases
Blog, Movies, TV
Posted on Mar 18 2013 by Greg

Disney has been releasing Blu-rays and DVD's of their animated features at a rapid rate lately, perhaps anticipating the new big format change. Only the tried and true standbys, like Peter Pan and soon, The Little Mermaid, are receiving lots of notice, while these other features are popping up in retail outlets relatively quietly.

With the release of three sets of features and their sequels last week, the sequels no longer standing on their own but now almost as bonus material, it makes one think back to the time when even a Disney direct to video sequel was a big deal and could even inspire a Happy Meal.

If you haven't seen The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan and Brother Bear lately (and who has time with everything else competing for our time and attention?), it's well worth rediscovering them, all of which look sensational in the crispness of high def. Now you can easily see the Belle cameo in Hunchback!

You can also see how they have held up since their release. While their technological advances have been surpassed in the years since (such as the then-miraculous CGI crowd scenes in Hunchback and Mulan), each retain their own power and artistry.

More than that, they exemplify the drama that was going on behind the scenes at Walt Disney Animation that picks up where Waking Sleeping Beauty left off. Jeffrey Katzenberg had departed, Pixar was on the rise, Disney had opened studios around the world and animators were starting to come down from the euphoria and attention they had enjoyed during the Beauty and the Beast and Lion King days.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
Disney Blu-ray & DVD (March 12, 2013)
Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise
The Voices of Tom Hulce, Demi Moore, Kevin Kline, Paul Kandel, Tony Jay, Mary Wickes, Jason Alexander, Charles Kimbrough
Original Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz


Making an animated film as ambitious as The Hunchback of Notre Dame was a bold move when you consider that the film leaves less opportunity for Disney to enrich its other divisions than say, another princess movie. Hunchback might have made a great Broadway show (and still would, as it was very successful on stage in Germany), but it's more adult than perhaps any Disney feature since Fantasia and less conducive to plush toys (though there were a few). But Disney Animation was riding so high at the time, there seemed to be no limit to how high they could reach, and are to be admired for pushing the boundaries given the chance.

And push it does. Hunchback has some highly electrifying scenes, especially for a mass-market animated film. The human animation is downright astonishing, especially considering that, according to the commentary, while there was some modeling done, this is not that watery rotoscope stuff.

Frollo is the most purely evil of all Disney human villains, with no redeemable features and a creepy depravity that is brought to a boiling intensity in the set piece, "Hellfire." Animator Kathy Zielinski, again according to the commentary, dressed as the villain to get the details of the outfit right. I suspect that there was also a strong influence from the animation of Maleficent and Lady Tremaine as well. You could almost imagine Eleanor Audley's voice coming out of Frollo!

This score is perhaps the pinnacle in Alan Menken's already spectacular music career. Few songs reach into your heart and soul like "God Help the Outcasts," sung to perfection by Heidi Mollenhauer as the singing voice of Esmeralda (Demi Moore delivers a superb speaking performance as well.)

This is a film, which, like the novel, explores heady material about life, death, religion and politics, thus perhaps too pithy for everyone who saw it back then. Hunchback wasn't the hit that Lion King was, though it would have been somewhat unrealistic to expect so much. I do think that of all Disney features produced during this period, Hunchback may be much more revered in the future than it ever was in its own time.

2013 Blu-ray Bonus Features:
- Audio Commentary with Producer Don Hahn, and Directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale
- The Making of The Hunchback of Notre Dame
- "A Guy Like You" Multi-Language Reel

2013 & 2002 DVD Bonus Features:
- Audio Commentary with Producer Don Hahn, and directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale
- The Making of The Hunchback of Notre Dame
- "A Guy Like You" Multi-Language Reel
Topsy Turvy Underground Game
- Topsy Turvy Sing-Along song

The Hunchback of Notre Dame II (2002)
Disney Blu-ray & DVD (March 12, 2013)
Directed by Bradley Raymond
The Voices of Tom Hulce, Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Demi Moore, Kevin Kline, Paul Kandel, Michael McKean, Jane Withers Jason Alexander, Charles Kimbrough
Music by Carl Johnson
Songs by Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Chris Canute, Randy Peterson, Kevin Quinn, Walter Edgar Kennon

How do you follow the eye-filling spectacle and tireless detail of the original Disney Hunchback, perhaps the most elaborate feature since Pinocchio? First, you make the script strong to overcome the time and budget restrictions on a made-for-video sequel. You also get a skillful director, in this case Bradley Raymond, who has done miracles since with his second Tinker Bell movie and Return to Never Land.

Retaining the original voice cast, albeit relegating Esmeralda and Phoebus to cameos, what would seem to be unthinkable actually works. It takes on the task of following up on a Disney epic as well a Hugo classic. Instead of taking a somber, pompous approach, this film tells a more intimate story in a remarkably convincing way. You start out thinking, "Oh come on! Quasimodo gets a girlfriend? Please!" but Jennifer Love-Hewitt's character is just enough of a non-conformist to make it plausible.

The songs are pleasant but not as memorable as the ones in the original. That was one tall order that was just too insurmountable. And even though the sequel repeats some of the same elements as the first film, particularly having yet another festival, the result is very entertaining.

2013 Blu-ray Bonus Features:
- Behind the Scenes with Jennifer Love-Hewitt
- A Gargoyles Life: It's Not Easy Being a Gargoyle

2002 & 2013 DVD Bonus Features:
- Behind the Scenes with Jennifer Love-Hewitt
- A Gargoyles Life: It's Not Easy Being a Gargoyle
- Festival of Fun Activity

Mulan (1998)
Disney Blu-ray & DVD (March 12, 2013)
Directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook
The Voices of Ming Na Wen, B. D. Wong, Eddie Murphy, George Takei, June Foray, Miguel Ferrer, Harvey Fierstein, Jerry Tondo, Gedde Watanabe
Music by Matthew Wilder
Lyrics by David Zippel
Music Score by Jerry Goldsmith


Mulan is significant in that it was the first feature produced almost completely by Walt Disney Animation Florida, a top-flight studio that doubled as a Theme Park attraction. Guests could wander along picture windows and watch animators at work on real shorts and features. It was a wonderful thing to see while it lasted.

Mulan was also my daughter's first movie. Even though she was just a baby then, she has seen it many times since and it is one of her all-time favorites. This is a great dad and daughter movie, in any case.

The strength of Mulan is that its a story that makes a strong statement without beating it over your head. The sense and reason of equal treatment arises through character, situation and example. Within the context of a patriarchal society, the film is able to make its case without compromising its time or place. There is no question about what Mulan must do, yet she is not trying to "prove" anything,doing what she has to do for her fathers and her family's honor.

Mulan herself is one of the most engaging Disney heroines of all time. She only doubts herself once, but most of the time she just figures out what to do because it has to be done and it's right. Mulan emerges as the strongest and smartest of her fellow recruits. Rarely is such compassionate, unselfish motivation seen in film or TV.

Not one song stops the action. Mulan is not a musical, but it has extended musical sequences that are carefully planned. Donny Osmond and Lea Salonga sing their roles beautifully (this being Donny's first Disney project since he and his brothers appeared on the Disney TV show to promote The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland in 1969. (It was very groovy.)

Marni Nixon, famed Hollywood ´¿½┬¿┬½´¿½┬¬´¿½Ô€œghost singer" who dubbed Marilyn Monroe, Deborah Kerr, Natalie Wood and even Margaret O'Brien, sings for Grandmother Fa, whose voice is none other than our Lovely Lady June Foray.

2005 2-Disc DVD Bonus Features
- Audio Commentary by Pam Coats, Tony Bancroft & Barry Cook
- Deleted Scenes (Keep 'Em Guessing, The Prologue Chronicle, Shadow Puppets Prologue, The Betrothal, Shan-Yu Destroys the Village, Mulan's Daydream, The Emperor's Dream)
- Music & More ("True to Your Heart" Video with Stevie Wonder; "True to Your Heart" Video with Raven; "I'll Make a Man Out of You" Video with Jackie Chan; Video with Christina Aguilera;  "Reflection" Video in Spanish)
- Backstage Disney: The Journey Begins (Discovering Mulan, The Ballad Of Hua Mulan, 1995 Presentation Reel, 1996 Presentation Reel); Story Artists' Journey (Storyboard to Film Comparison, Introduction, Storyboard Only, Final Film Only, Storyboard to Final Film Comparison), Design (Art Design, Character Design, Ballad of Color, Still Art Galleries); Production (Progression Demonstrations, Digital Production); Music (Songs of Mulan); International Mulan (Mulan's International Journey, Multi-Language Reel, Publicity Art)
DisneyPedia Activity: Mulan's World
Mulan Fun Facts

2013 Blu-ray Bonus Features:
Audio Commentary by Pam Coats, Tony Bancroft & Barry Cook
- Deleted Scenes (Keep 'Em Guessing, The Prologue Chronicle, Shadow Puppets Prologue, The Betrothal, Shan-Yu Destroys the Village, Mulan's Daydream, The Emperor's Dream)
Classic Backstage Disney: Mulan Fun Facts, The Journey Begins (Discovering Mulan, The Ballad Of Hua Mulan, 1995 Presentation Reel, 1996 Presentation Reel); Story Artists' Journey (Finding Mulan, Storyboard to Film Comparison: Mushu Breaks the Dragon); Design (Art Design, Character Design, Ballad of Color); Production (Mushu Awakens, Matchmaker Meets Mulan); Digital Production (The Hun Charge, Digital Dim Sum);
Classic Music & More("I'll Make a Man Out of You" Video with Jackie Chan;  "Reflection" Video with Christina Aguilera; "Reflejo" Video with Lucero; Songs of Mulan

2013 DVD Bonus Features
- Audio Commentary by Pam Coats, Tony Bancroft & Barry Cook
- Deleted Scenes (Keep 'Em Guessing, The Prologue Chronicle, Shadow Puppets Prologue, The Betrothal, Shan-Yu Destroys the Village, Mulan's Daydream, The Emperor's Daydream)
Classic Music & More ("True to Your Heart" Video with Stevie Wonder; "True to Your Heart" Video with Raven; "I'll Make a Man Out of You" Video with Jackie Chan; "Reflection" Video with Christina Aguilera; "Reflejo" Video with Lucero; Multi-Language Presentation; Mulan's International Journey; Multi-Language Presentation)
Classic Backstage Disney (Finding Mulan, Mulan's Fun Facts)

Mulan II (2004)
Disney Blu-ray & DVD (March 12, 2013)
Directed by Darrell Rooney and Lynne Southerland
The Voices of Ming Na Wen, B. D. Wong, Mark Moseley, George Takei, June Foray, Harvey Fierstein, Jerry Tondo, Gedde Watanabe, Lucy Liu, Sandra Oh
Music Score by Joel McNeely
Songs by Alexa Junge and Jeanne Tesori

Making a sequel for Mulan seems, unlike those of other Disney features, a natural. You might not be able to duplicate the epic battle scenes, but you could make more of the characters and their relationships. Sadly, Mulan II falls far from what it might have been.

A better title could have been How I Met Your Mulan. Countless rom-com clich´¿½┬©s abound. Sure, it's a contemporary take on an ancient legend, but do Mulan and Shang really have to do that "men never ask directions" routine? Sure to be dated phrases are spoken, like "Why the face? and "He's gross."

Most of the songs cover the same ground as in the first film. One might especially take exception with the song that appears to be intended as the breakout, "I Want to Be Like Other Girls." Yes, the song is about sheltered young ladies wanting to break free, but in this day and age, does every parent want their daughter to follow the crowd as these lyrics also imply?

A lot of work goes into films like these, and I regret deeply to sound so negative. There is a lot of talent evident in Mulan II, particularly the dazzling color palette. It's just that there must have been some behind the scenes disagreement about what the film was supposed to be. This is largely a comedy with most of the characters reduced to types.

In this film, Mulan makes an anachronistic speech about being shocked at arranged marriages, even though in the original film, she was fully aware of the cultural norms of her time. She went to the matchmaker fully prepared to face this situation.

This film goes on to depict a pat Brady Brides pairing of the three recruit characters from the earlier film with three princesses, perhaps suggesting that marriage is the only way for a person to be happy, as long as you can choose your partner (and get to know them for a couple of hours). Even when the princesses had discovered their independence, they reverted to another social convention and so did Mulan. Trying to have it both ways, modern and traditional, the story just gets lost in itself.

It's nice, though, to hear June Foray again, though we get to see precious little of the Fa family in the sequel.

2005 DVD Bonus Features
- Deleted Scenes (Battle Sequences, Mei Flirts, The Escape Part 1, The Escape Part 2), "I Wanna Be) Like Other Girls" Video with Atomic Kittens
- Voices of Mulan
- Mushu's Guess Who Game
- The World of Mulan Activity

2005 DVD & 2013 Blu-ray Bonus Features
- Deleted Scenes (Battle Sequences, Mei Flirts, The Escape Part 1, The Escape Part 2)
"I Wanna Be) Like Other Girls" Video with Atomic Kittens
- Voices of Mulan

Brother Bear (2003)
Disney Blu-ray & DVD (March 12, 2013)
Directed by Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker
The Voices of Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Suarez, Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas, Wanda Sykes, D. B. Sweeney, Joan Copeland, Michael Clarke Duncan, Harold Gould
Music Score Phil Collins and Mark Mancina
Songs by Phil Collins


Surely it was not intended to reissue Mulan and Brother Bear at the same time because they bookend the peak and the valley of Walt Disney Animation Florida. But they are connected by their history as the first and last films produced at is now called Disney's Hollywood Studios (Lilo and Stitch was the middle feature). There is still an animation walk-through attraction at the Park, but there are no longer glimpses at working animators.

Brother Bear could be considered one of the most overlooked of the post-Lion King era. Some critics made comparisons, which are not untrue, but this is a very different film in style and pretension. It is a very simple fable rather than a sweeping saga.

Like a classic fable, the theme is broader than the story depicted. This is really a story about intolerance and hatred that is counteracted when the protagonist walks in the other's shoes, or in this case, paws. Another film that invites comparison is the more recent Brave, since both showcase humans that become bears, but again, the focus is very different here, aside from mutual understanding.

It is fortunate that Joaquin Phoenix was available at the time to do the voice of Kenai; it is an excellent performance. SCTV's Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas are pitch perfect as moose versions of their McKenzie brothers (and deliver comic gold on their in-character audio commentary).

But the star of Brother Bear is Jeremy Suarez as Koda. He's still very much a working actor all these years later, and rightly so. Koda's not just cute, he commands the scenes in which he appears and directs the emotional pull of the story.

Phil Collins, who is one of the best musical partners to work in Disney films, according to what Disney music president Chris Montan told me (Collins would make himself constantly available even from his Switzerland home), again creates songs that have a viable pop sound but don't sound dated it all today.

2004 2-Disc DVD & 2013 Blu-ray Bonus Features
- Koda's Outtakes
- Rutt & Tukes Commentary
- "Through My Eyes" Video
- Brother Bear Games (Bone Puzzle; Find Your Totem)
- "On My Way" Sing-Along Song
- Bear Legends: Native American Tales
- Making Noise: The Art of Foley
- Art Review
- Paths of Discovery: The Making of Brother Bear
- Deleted Scenes (Where's Koda?; Confession; Muri the Squirrel)
- "Fishing Song (Never Before Heard Song)
- "Transformation Song" with Original Phil Collins Lyrics)

2013 DVD Bonus Features:
- Koda's Outtakes
- Rutt & Tuke's Commentary
- "Through My Eyes" Video
- Brother Bear Games (Bone Puzzle; Find Your Totem)
- "On My Way" Sing-Along Song
- Bear Legends: Native American Tales
- Making Noise: The Art of Foley
- Art Review

Brother Bear 2 (2006)
Disney Blu-ray & DVD (March 12, 2013)
Directed by Benjamin Gluck
The Voices of Patrick Dempsey, Jeremy Suarez, Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas, Andrea Martin, Catherine O'Hara, Mandy Moore, Michael Clarke Duncan, Wendy Malick, Kathy Najimy
Music Score by Dave Metzger
Songs by Melissa Etheridge, Matthew Gerrard and Robbie Nevil

The sequel to Brother Bear falls between  "what were they thinking" and "that was better than I expected."

The overall look, though not quite as detailed, is very accurately captured from the first film. Joaquin Phoenix is replaced by Patrick Dempsey, only a breath away from his big TV splash as TV as "McDreamy."

Dempsey's voice is noticeably higher than that of Phoenix, but it stands him in good stead for his squabbles with his leading lady, voiced by Mandy Moore, who later voiced Rapunzel for Disney.

Brother Bear was about tolerance and tradition, the sequel is more of a rom-com triangle that isn't exactly full of surprises but at the same time a nice way to spend some time with some wonderful characters again. It avoids most of the deadly rom-com clich´¿½┬©, thanks to a solid script and some nice tunes by Melissa Etheridge.

Best of all, we SCTV fans get two more legends to enjoy, now Andrea Martin and Catherine O'Hara play lady moose who are wooed pathetically by the goony moose we met in the first film, again voiced by Moranis and Thomas. They provide the true highlights. I would have liked to see more of them in one form or another, these are great animated comic characters voiced by four of the best in the business.

2013 Blu-ray Bonus Feature
- Behind the Music of Brother Bear II

2006 & 2013 DVD Bonus Features
- Behind the Music of Brother Bear II
- Trample Off, Eh? Game

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