I rarely review documentaries, and I think this might actually be the first Disneynature movie I have seen, although next year’s Monkey Kingdom looks adorable. My parents love the Disneynature movies, however, so we all went to see Bears this past week at a screening.
The film follows a mama bear and her two cubs, Scout and Amber, during the cubs’ first year of the feeding season. Sky, their mother, must find enough food for herself so that her milk won’t dry up during the winter – if it does, it could potentially starve Scout and Amber. There are a few threats to the cubs in the wild, too, such as a coyote and a few other larger, male bears (who apparently won’t think twice of some tiny bears for dinner when they’re that hungry), and Sky must protect the cubs from these and others.
The scenery in this film was gorgeous – it was shot in Alaska, the bears’ native habitat – and if you stick around through the credits, you’ll see how the filmmakers were able to capture these bears and other parts of nature on camera; I was wondering about that since they had great close-up shots of the bears, some of the time. John C. Reilly is the narrator in this film, and I have heard that some of his dialogue was improvised – it certainly seems that way, as some of the scenes he narrates as if at a baseball game, giving a play-by-play of what is going on and how the bears felt at the time. His narrating definitely helped to frame the film as a whole.
Yes, see this movie. During some scenes I was worried for the cubs’ safety, thinking This is a Disney movie – are they really going to have one of the cubs die?! – before catching myself and realizing, again, that this is a documentary, which meant anything could happen. I enjoyed learning more about bears in general, and also seeing the beautiful Alaskan scenery; I want to visit Alaska now at some point. Bears is rated G but I will say there is a lot of salmon fishing in the movie, and occasionally we see bloodied or half-eaten fish – probably not something a child would focus on, but worth mentioning, nonetheless. Other than that, I’d recommend Bears for all audiences and all ages.
Bears is in theatesrs today, April 18th, and is rated G with a runtime of 77 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.