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Two Brothers
2004 - PG - 109 Mins.
Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Producer: Jean-Jacques Annaud, Jake Eberts
Written By: Alain Godard, Jean-Jacques Annaud
Starring: Kumal and Sangha, Guy Pearce, Jean-Claude Dreyfus, David Gant
Review by: Joe Rickey

Oh, they're so cute!
The rare adventure film that doesn’t star human characters, ‘Two Brothers’ is the beautifully filmed but oftentimes dramatically inert odyssey of two tigers from birth to adulthood; their names Kumal and Sangha. The film, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, a veteran of such films after 1989’s ‘The Bear’, tells of how the two tigers are forced to endure adversity when a human hunter (Guy Pearce) kills their father and separates the two by only taking Kumal. Sangha, meanwhile, is taken in by a wealthy couple and is witness to many adventures of his own before fate befalls the two brothers and they meet again in the most unusual of circumstances later on in their lives.

There used to be more of a market for films like ‘Two Brothers,’ back when a film like ‘Milo and Otis,’ the tale of a dog and cat traversing through life, was popular and a hit with family audiences. Nowadays though, such efforts have been, for the most part, relegated to IMAX screens and television networks like Animal Planet, where one can watch such documentaries for hours on end if they like. Perhaps then, it is not a surprise to find out that for all intents and purposes, ‘Two Brothers’ bombed at the box office; amassing a mere six million opening weekend.

The fact is, for all its striking nature cinematography; let me tell you, Annaud and his crew sure can compose views of nature occurring naturally, uninterrupted with the best of them; not to mention scenes of cute as can be tiger cubs frolicking about, there is nothing evident in ‘Two Brothers’ that sets it up as a must see film, rather it is likely a film that would play better on the aforementioned Animal Planet or as a rental down the line for family movie night.

The film’s number one problem is that for all its attempts to drum up treacherous conflict for its two four-legged protagonists, one never gets the sense that there is ever really any danger that could bring complications for Kumal and his brother, Sangha. For this reason, the film’s finale is never in doubt; leaving one with a very predictable movie experience on their hands.

The film also struggles in its attempts to bring a human side to what is primarily an animal tale, as the likes of Guy Pearce and Jean-Claude Dreyfus muddle through second-rate material that they frankly should be ashamed of uttering. Guy Pearce, in particular, is obviously slumming it; as the actor has taken a once-promising career and almost ruined it by appearing in films that no one hears or cares about such as this and ‘The Hard Word.’ He would be better off taking more roles in would-be blockbusters like ‘The Time Machine’ than fading into relative obscurity like what is happening currently.

‘Two Brothers’ may be blessed with beautiful cinematography but it is also cursed with an indifferent approach to storytelling and poor writing when it comes to the human portion of the plot.

Movie Guru Rating
Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better. Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better.
  2 out of 5 stars

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