Two Brothers

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Rating: PG

Starring:
Guy Pearce as Aidan McRory
Jean-Claude Dreyfus as Eugène Normandin
Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu as Mathilde Normandin
Freddie Highmore as Raoul
Oanh Nguyen as His Excellency
Moussa Maaskri as Saladin
Vincent Scarito as Zerbino
Maï Anh Le as Naï-Rea
Jaran Phetjareon as Village chief
Stéphanie Lagarde as Paulette
Bernard Flavien as His Excellency’s majordome
Nozha Khouadra as Madame Zerbino
Annop Varapanya as Sergent Van Tranh

Special Features:
Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Journal
Feature Commentary With Director Jean-Jacques Annaud
Call Of The Wild
Wild About Tigers
Tiger Brothers
Tiger Trainers
Tiger Tech
Tiger Cam
Location Scouting
Costume Design
Story Boards
DVD-Rom Features

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Languages
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

“Two mischievous twin tiger cubs live a carefree life in an exotic jungle amidst beautiful ancient ruins. But one day, an act of fate forces them apart, as one is sold off to the circus and the other becomes the pampered pet of a governor’s son. Witness the remarkable journey as these tigers grow up, reunite, and embark on an incredible adventure to find their way home.

From Jean-Jacques Annaud, the highly-acclaimed director of The Bear, comes a heartwarming story about the power of friendship and the bond between brothers. Guy Pearce (Memento, LA Confidential) stars as a treasure hunter whose own spirit is unexpectedly tamed by the tigers in this timeless tale for the whole family.”

Two Brothers is rated PG for mild violence.

The Movie:
Director Jean-Jacques Annaud strives to make movies that are visually stunning, often with little dialog, letting the actions on the screen carry the plot. Two Brothers continues on that path and feels like an updated version of a Lassie movie, filmed with tigers instead of a dog.

Visually, the movie is often stunning. Filmed in Cambodia and Thailand, the locations are rich and vibrant. In addition to the great scenery, Annaud is able to get emotions out of the two title character tigers. Often the movie has the feel of a nature documentary, mostly when following the tigers in their youth, but there is a story layered on top of the excellent camera work.

The story is a simple one. Tigers are happy. Man comes and separates tigers; tigers are sad. Tigers meet again. The catalyst for all of this is Aidan McRory (Guy Pearce), a big game trophy hunter that has moved on to the lucrative trade in stolen antiquities. The tigers pose a threat to the local people, and a bounty is on their head. This bounty orphans the two young tigers who end up separated and experience vastly different lifestyles, changing the basic nature of who they are.

While the tigers have a lot of character development, the humans are mostly stereotypical cutouts. Guy Pearce looks the part and has the proper elitist attitude of a Victorian era game hunter, making the redemption of Aidan McRory more satisfying, if a little less believable. The young emperor (Oanh Nguyen) is the only other character with any depth, but it is a rather small roll.

Who should see this movie? Nature and tiger lovers. The movie is almost a political statement about the value of nature and everything within it. The story is a good one, if a bit shallow, and should easily captivate anyone that loves exotic locations. There is a fair amount of action, but it is all of an animal nature. The movie is being targeted at a young audience, and it should go over pretty well with them. The violence is mostly off screen, but young children could still be frightened. Also, the death of the tiger cubs’ family might be hard for some younger viewers. If you are looking for a love story or a mystery you need to look elsewhere. It is a nice light summer movie, but it still has a message that will resonate with many people.

The Extras:
There are quite a few bonus features included on the DVD. Here are the highlights:

Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Journal – This is simply a text feature showing what the director wrote while shooting the movie. A lot of it is relating to how to shoot the material, but there are observances about the crew, the location, and the story. Overall it’s a little dry.

Feature Commentary With Director Jean-Jacques Annaud – Annaud delivers a solo commentary. He focuses on the challenges of making the movie, working with the tigers, filming in Cambodia, etc. Because he faced so many challenges, it makes the technical side of making this movie a little more interesting than it is on other films.

Call Of The Wild – This is a short montage of footage of the tigers from the making of the movie. It is less than a minute long.

Wild About Tigers – This is a 35 minute documentary about tigers and their lives. They cover their life cycles, their territory, their behavior, their hunting skills, and more. There’s even some amazing footage of a tiger fighting a very large crocodile and killing it. This feature is probably the highlight of the extras.

Tiger Brothers – This short feature highlights the tigers they used in the film and the tricks they used to film them. They show the cameramen filming from cages, the food they used to entice the tigers, and more. It’s quite interesting to see.

Tiger Trainers – This features the trainers who worked with all the tigers who worked in the movie. They share their tricks and talk about what it was like to work on the movie.

Tiger Tech – Whenever they couldn’t use a real tiger, they would use an animatronic double for the tiger. This shows what scenes they did this in and how it worked.

Tiger Cam – This feature shows how they filmed the tigers running loose in an enclosed area. They used remote controlled cameras, cages, and other tricks.

Location Scouting – This shows how they chose the locations they used in Cambodia. It’s quite a beautiful country and a fantastic location for the movie.

Costume Design – This is a montage of drawings for the costumes used in the film,

Story Boards – This is your standard DVD feature where they compare the storyboards to the final scenes in the movie. They show the tiger chase scene, the final meeting between the tigers, and more.

The Bottom Line:
Two Brothers is a great film for kids and animal lovers. While it is filled with clichés, the tigers are breathtaking to watch in action.

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