Cute bear doc­u­men­tary doesn’t hide the wild side

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Roger Moore

BEARS is ex­actly the sort of na­ture doc­u­men­tary we’ve come to ex­pect from Dis­ney­na­ture, the film di­vi­sion of the com­pany that rolls out a new na­ture doc­u­men­tary ev­ery year at Earth Day.

It’s gor­geous, in­ti­mate and beau­ti­fully pho­tographed. And it’s cute and kid-friendly, with just enough jokes to bal­ance the drama that comes from any film that flirts with how dan­ger­ous and un­for­giv­ing the wild ac­tu­ally is. Here, it’s Alaskan brown bears we fol­low as cute cubs through their first year of life. A mama bear and her two cubs en­dure a year of hunger, dan­ger­ous en­coun­ters with other bears, a wolf and a rip­tide as they trek from snowy moun­tains, where the cubs were born, down to the coast where sal­mon streams feed into the sea. The mother, Sky, needs to fat­ten up on sal­mon in or­der to sur­vive and nurse her cubs, Am­ber and Scout, through their com­ing sec­ond win­ter. The cubs need to dis­cover the world, and stay out of the way of om­niv­o­rous male bears and as­sorted other dan­gers. We’re told, right off the top, that only half of the cubs born each win­ter make it through their first year alive. More than once, Bears flirts with grim re­al­i­ties. The adult bear fights are quite in­tense and fright­en­ing. But John C. Reilly nar­rates this na­ture tale with a hint of whimsy,

OLIVER SCHOLEY

Im­ages of cubs with their mother are sure to elicit a col­lec­tive “awww.”

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