Brother Bear 2 is a direct-to-video sequel to the animated feature Brother Bear and was released on DVD on August 29, 2006. Melissa Etheridge contributed three songs to the film. In the film, the adventures of bear brothers Kenai and Koda continue. While the first film dealt with Kenai's relationship with Koda, this one focuses more on his bond with his childhood friend, Nita. Only five of the original characters return for the sequel including Kenai, Koda, Tug, Rutt, and Tuke. But only four of those actors came back to reprise their roles which include Jeremy Suarez (Koda), Rick Moranis (Rutt), Dave Thomas (Tuke), and the late Michael Clarke Duncan (Tug). It relates a version of the story of Macbeth by William Shakespeare.
Jason Marsden, as heard in the first trailer, was originally announced to voice Kenai, voiced by Joaquin Phoenix in the first film, but according to Reuters, Patrick Dempsey ultimately voiced Kenai. However, the end credits still note Marsden as one of the additional voices. This is also Rick Moranis' final role in the film before taking a break from acting.
Picking up several months after the events of the first film, Kenai (voiced by Patrick Dempsey) - now a cave bear - is living happily with his foster brother Koda (voiced by Jeremy Suarez). Having just awoken from hibernation, the bears are off to Crowberry Ridge for the first berries of the season. Unfortunately, Kenai's haunted by memories of his childhood friend Nita (voiced by Mandy Moore), to whom he gave a special amulet many years ago. When he was a human child, he became friends with Nita, the daughter of the elder of a neighboring tribe. The pair's past friendship collides with the present as Kenai and Nita must undertake an excursion as bear and woman, respectively. The bears Kenai and Koda are on their way to Crowberry Ridge when they meet up with Nita, Kenai's childhood friend. Nita was given an amulet from Kenai, and wants to burn it at Hokani Falls so she can marry Atka (voiced by Jeff Bennett). However, she has to do it with Kenai (the person she received it from) to send the bond back up to the spirits. At first, Kenai refuses, but finally agrees. Nita misses Kenai, but does not tell him. Instead, she asks if he misses being human, and if he ever thought of changing back. He replies that he has thought about it. Koda, who heard it all, races up a mountain and is finally found by Nita.
They make it to Hokani Falls, and burn the amulet. Nita can no longer understand animals, so she says goodbye. Koda asks his mom in the spirit-land to turn Kenai back into a man so he can be happy. Koda goes to the village to retrieve Nita, and Kenai is told by Rutt and Tuke (voiced by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas). Koda cannot go to the village because they will try to kill him. Kenai makes it there, and gets into a fight with Atka. He falls off a cliff into shallow water, where the spirits come. Koda tells Kenai that he asked the spirits to change him back into a man. Kenai tells Nita that he cannot because he does not want to leave Koda, but Nita tells him that she can. So, she turns into a bear that has same coloring as Kenai, and they get married. The film ends with Kenai and Nita getting married and Rutt and Tuke finding mates, and the spirits changing the picture of young Nita and Kenai into two bear cubs, since neither are human anymore.
- Patrick Dempsey - Kenai
- Jeremy Suarez - Koda
- Mandy Moore - Nita
- Rick Moranis - Rutt
- Dave Thomas - Tuke
- Michael Clarke Duncan - Tug
- Andrea Martin - Anda
- Jeff Bennett - Atka
- Catherine O'Hara - Kata
- Wanda Sykes - Innoko
- Wendie Malick - Aunt Siqiniq
- Kathy Najimy - Aunt Taqqiq
- Tress MacNeille - Hoonah
- Jim Cummings - Bering (the Raccoon) and Chilkoot (Nita's father)
- Jack Weber - Young Kenai
- Jessie Flower - Young Nita
- Benjamin Bryan -
- Jason Marsden - Kenai (voice match),
- Krista Swan -
When Nita first encounters Kenai (as a bear), Koda is visible in the log under Nita. In the next shot, as Kenai charges, Koda has disappeared.
When Aunt Siqiniq and Aunt Taqqiq display their outfits for Nita, one is of caribou hide, the other, reindeer. 'Reindeer' and 'caribou' are two terms for the same animal species.
Brother Bear 2 received mixed reviews from critics, and the film currently holds a 50% in Rotten Tomatoes, and an average rating of 5.6/10 (based on 8 votes). The film is the second direct-to-video sequel to have a higher rating on Rotten Tomatoes than its predecessor, with the first film being An Extremely Goofy Movie.
Enthusiastic reviews included those of 7M Pictures, which wrote "The kids will love “Brother Bear 2,” especially if they loved the first film. It has a good message and some decent scenes." RealTalk Movie Reviews said "Although sequels -- even a few from Disney -- are often disappointing, this one is a keeper, mostly because of its charming story and extraordinary background music", and DVDTalk's Brian Orndorf said "As money-grabbing animated product goes, "Brother Bear 2" rests nicely on a lowered expectation level, and is hardly an offensive affront to the first film. The texture and polish is deeply missed, but the characters are so strong and engaging, it still entertains." David Cornelius of DVDTalk wrote "The story fails to impress, but everything else adds up in all the right ways to make up for it. The makers of "Brother Bear 2" break the curse of the Disney sequel and turn in a welcome effort." Movie Metropolis said "When you consider that Disney meant this production strictly for the home and it probably didn't cost nearly as much as the first film to make or market, it's actually a superior product..."Brother Bear 2" may not be first-tier Disney filmmaking, but it is first-tier Disney animation, and that and the sweetness of the story line may be enough to keep even grown-ups entertained."
Negative reviews came from Pablo Villaca of Cinema em Cena, who said "sad to say ... the magic of the first film and sensitivity were replaced by cliches, ridiculous story and cheap sentimentality." Antagony & Ecstasy noted that it has a "weirdly adult-centered narrative" and concluded that "it's such a big, fluffy, nothing of a movie, as pointedly blank and inoffensive as the lazy, anonymous songs contributed by a slumming Melissa Etheridge". Reef Film Reviews said "There's little doubt that Brother Bear 2, for the most part, comes off as an affable yet entirely needless piece of work, as filmmaker Ben Gluck, working from Rich Burns' script, is generally unable to wholeheartedly capture and sustain the viewer's interest - with the ongoing emphasis on stand-alone segments (eg the central trio run afoul of several violent raccoons) ensuring that the movie is only sporadically engaging."
The soundtrack to Brother Bear 2 was released August 15, 2006. It is available only on digital outlets such as iTunes and walmart.com. It includes the following tracks:
- Dave Metzger - Opening: Brother Bear 2 – 0:34
- Melissa Etheridge - Welcome To This Day – 2:40
- Dave Metzger - The Dream – 2:08
- Dave Metzger - Father and Daughter – 0:54
- Dave Metzger - Nita Confesses Her Fear – 0:55
- Melissa Etheridge and Josh Kelley - Feels Like Home – 3:30
- Melissa Etheridge - It Will Be Me – 3:35
- Dave Metzger - Koda's Wish to the Spirits – 1:38
- Dave Metzger - I Love You Too – 2:42
- Dave Metzger - Nita's Transformation – 1:23
- Melissa Etheridge and Josh Kelley - Welcome to This Day (Reprise) Deleted Scenes
There are some deleted scenes was not included on the DVD Bonus Features.
- Full Complete Childhood Scene (including Young Atka)
- Kenai's Nightmare with Atka (Kenai ended up having a nightmare with the death of his brother Sitka)
- Alternate Ending (Kenai decides to return to his human form)