Only five of the original characters return for the sequel (excluding Denahi), including Kenai, Koda, Rutt, Tuke, and Tug, because Jason Raize committed suicide in 2004. Only four of those actors came back to do their original roles, which include Jeremy Suarez, Rick Moranis (in his most recent role as of 2017), Dave Thomas, and Michael Clarke Duncan.
Jason Marsden, as heard in the first trailer, was originally announced to voice Kenai, originally voiced by Joaquin Phoenix in the first film, but Patrick Dempsey ultimately voiced the character. However, the end credits still note Marsden as one of the additional voices.
Picking up several months after the events of the first film, Kenai, now a cave bear, is living happily with his foster brother Koda. Having just awoken from hibernation, the bears begin traveling to Crowberry Ridge for the first berries of the season. However, Kenai is haunted by memories of his childhood friend Nita, to whom he gave a special amulet many years ago after saving her from drowning. Nita, now grown up, is set to wed Atka, a man from a neighboring Inuit village. However, on the day of the wedding, the Spirits appear in the form of a storm that causes a fissure to open up in the ground between Nita and Atka, much to Nita's horror. Believing it to be a sign, Nita consults the wisest shaman of the tribes. By communicating with the Spirits, the shaman reveals that the amulet that Kenai gave Nita all those years ago bonded her and Kenai together. The only way for Nita to sever the bond and be able to marry Atka is to find Kenai, go with him to Hokani Falls (where Kenai gave Nita the amulet), and burn the amulet on the eve of the Equinox, thus returning the bond to the Spirits. The shaman grants Nita the ability to communicate with Kenai and the other wildlife for this journey.
Eventually, Kenai and Koda meet up with Nita. At first, Kenai refuses to destroy the bond, but Nita tells him that the Spirits may turn him back into a human and send him to find her. Under pressure from Nita and Koda, who is worried that he and Kenai could no longer be brothers if this happens, Kenai relents and the three make their way to Hokani Falls. As they spend more time together, Kenai and Nita rekindle their old friendship, much to Koda's jealousy. One night, Nita asks Kenai if he ever thought of being human again. When Kenai says that he has considered it, Koda hears this and races up a mountain, grief-stricken that Kenai may leave him. Nita finds Koda hiding in a cave, but both are caught in an avalanche and barely rescued by Kenai. Kenai scolds Koda for almost getting himself killed, but the two reconcile with Kenai assuring Koda that he would never leave him.
The trio eventually make it to Hokani Falls, where they burn the amulet. Without it, Nita can no longer communicate with Kenai or Koda, so she says goodbye. Seeing how depressed Kenai is and realizing that he loves Nita, Koda secretly asks his mother in the Spirit land to turn Kenai back into a human so he can be happy. The next morning, Rutt and Tuke (whom Kenai, Koda, and Nita ran into multiple times throughout their journey, and whom Nita helped woo a pair of female Canadian moose) inform Kenai that Koda went to the village to retrieve Nita. Knowing that Koda could be killed, Kenai follows after him.
At the village, the tribes prepare for the wedding once again, but Nita, realizing her feelings for Kenai, tells her father that she cannot marry Atka. At that moment, Koda creates a major commotion in the village in order to get Nita's attention, while Kenai arrives to retrieve Koda. Rutt and Tuke rescue Koda from two of the villagers, while Atka battles Kenai, shoving him off of a cliff and into shallow water. Nita rushes to Kenai's aide, where the two profess their love for each other. The Spirits appear to change Kenai back into a human, allowing Nita to communicate with Kenai and Koda. Kenai tells Nita that he cannot become a human again and leave Koda, but Nita tells him that she can be with him. With her father's blessing, the Spirits transform Nita into a bear. The film ends with Kenai and Nita's wedding that the tribes, bears, Rutt, Tuke and their mates happily watch.Patrick Dempsey as Kenai
Jeremy Suarez as Koda
Mandy Moore as Nita
Rick Moranis as Rutt
Dave Thomas as Tuke
Michael Clarke Duncan as Tug
Andrea Martin as Anda
Jeff Bennett as Atka
Catherine O'Hara as Kata
Wanda Sykes as Innoko
Wendie Malick as Siqiniq
Kathy Najimy as Taqqiq
Tress MacNeille as Hoonah
Jim Cummings as Bering and Chilkoot
Jack Weber as Young Kenai
Jessie Flower as Young Nita
Brother Bear 2 received generally 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 Kevin Carr 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." Reel 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."
In 2016, Doug Walker of Channel Awesome reviewed Brother Bear 2 as part of Disneycember, praising the animation but criticizing the writing and the film itself for being "mostly dumb".
The soundtrack to Brother Bear 2 was released August 15, 2006. It is available only on digital outlets such as the iTunes Store 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]" – 1:33