Cute bear documentary doesn’t hide the wild side
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,
Images of cubs with their mother are sure to elicit a collective “awww.”