There are at least ten good reasons to go see Two Brothers, especially if you take children along for the ride. It's a delightful success thanks to …
- Director Jean-Jacques Annaud. The director's "grownups-only" films have been hit-and-miss affairs (The Name of the Rose, The Lover, Enemy at the Gates, Seven Years in Tibet), but his "all-ages" films are delightful, unusual, and exemplary. In 1988, he gave us The Bear, one of the most awe-inspiring animal stories ever filmed. With Two Brothers, he's in his element, filming the natural world and considering a clash of cultures. Annaud turns down the typical sentimentality characteristic of Disney films; he makes the beasts seem real, and the threat of humankind's encroachment on their territory is portrayed with enough realism to make even the grownups in the audience flinch. Even though he avoids the uncomfortable fact of a tiger's predatory nature and keeps the camera clear of carnage, he gives us a powerful vision of the majesty and strength of these animals. They're not anthropomorphized stuffed toys.
Tigers! Annaud employed nearly 30 Bengalese tigers to give his striped characters just the right expressions and abilities at just the right time—from climbing trees to chasing down trucks to jumping through fiery hoops. While it's a bit ironic that a film emphasizing the tragedy of tigers in captivity features, yes, tigers trained to act in captivity, Annaud's respect and care for these animals is obvious in his storytelling. He even gives one of the human characters a speech asserting that people can be taught to respect animals in the wilderness through the employment of those animals already in captivity. (And on a personal note, these tiger cubs are much more likeable and interesting than that otherorange cat—the lazy, fat, talking one—currently wasting viewers' time on the big screen.)
The stars of the show—twintiger cubs
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