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Two Brothers

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Two Brothers

Starring: Guy Pearce, Jean-Claude Dreyfus
Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Rated: PG
RunTime: 109 Minutes
Release Date: June 2004
Genres: Family, Drama

*Also starring: Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, Freddie Highmore, Oanh Nguyen, Moussa Maaskri, Vincent Scarito, Stephanie Lagarde, Nozha Khouadra, Annop Varapanya

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

In Jean-Jacques Annaud's live action, kids' movie, TWO BROTHERS, the tiger cub actors are really precious. The same can't be said of the human actors or the script. So long as the movie is growling, it works, but, when people speak, it veers between lame and laughably bad. Luckily, most of the picture is turned over to the two cubs that frolic with a vengeance. You're going to be saying "ooh" and "ah" a lot, just like you might when watching a television program on the Animal Planet. The plot covers most of the standard bases for a movie of this genre. The young animals lose their parents, and hunters are to blame. Some humans aid the animals while others are needlessly cruel to them. Since the animals are permitted indoors, there is the mandatory but still extremely cute scene of the young animal hiding, E.T.-style, among a kid's shelf full of stuffed animals. After looking like there is little hope, the movie ends on a high note with these particular animals living happily ever after. Just before the ending credits, the film reminders us about how many fewer animals of this breed exist in the world today. What is different about TWO BROTHERS and what makes it a tough sell to kids is the pacing, which is extremely slow. Couple this to a threadbare story, and you can expect major fidgeting and lots of trips to the bathroom. The two tiger cubs are wonderfully playful and mischievous. One sweet scene has the fearless cub chasing a small animal while the other climbs a tree in fear. The scared one slowly slides down, unable to hold onto the tree trunk. Guy Pearce is given the thankless task of playing opposite the cubs in the story which is set in Thailand in the 1920s. They upstage him right and left, but his acting is at least okay, something that can't be said of any of the other humans, who deliver truly awful performances. Wait for video and then just skip past any scene not featuring a tiger. TWO BROTHERS runs way too long at 1:49. It is rated PG for "mild violence" and would be acceptable for all ages, although many will not possess the patience to sit through it. My son Jeffrey, age 15, gave the movie **. He adored the tigers but said he didn't buy the story and couldn't figure out to which age group the film was supposed to appeal. His cousin William, age 10, thought it was "pretty good" and said that he liked the tigers jumping through the fire part best. William's sister Liana, age 7, thought the film was "okay" and -- when pressed for more information -- said it was funny. Neither of them were enthusiastic about it or engaged by it.

Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes

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