Bears is the new nature documentary release from Disneynature in celebration of Earth Day on April 22. Bears is the fifth theatrical release from Disneynature, the others being Chimpanzee, African Cats, Oceans, and Earth. These four are among the top five highest grossing nature films in history. The film is directed by Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey which also co-directed African Cats. Bears is narrated by the always reliable John C. Reilly of Chicago and Step Brothers fame.
The film follows a year in the life of a mother bear (Sky) and her two bear cubs (Amber and Scout) as they trek across the great Alaskan wilderness in search of food. Along the way, the bears are taught many essential life lessons. The journey begins as winter is coming to an end and the bears are coming out of hibernation. They must cross miles and miles of snow-covered mountains all while steering clear of a possible avalanche. As spring and summer approach, the bears are now on the hunt for food (especially salmon) in order to begin preparation for next winter’s hibernation. The search for food isn’t an easy one for a mother and her cubs as they’ll face many obstacles along the way, namely rival male bears and a grey wolf that seems to always be waiting in the wings. No matter what happens, the family must stay together on their adventure in order to survive.
Bears is cut out of the same mold as the nature docs that came before it, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The bear cubs are ridiculously cute and cuddly and the cinematography is absolutely breathtaking. Whether its the swooping shots of the Alaskan snow-covered mountains and beautiful countryside or the intimate shots of the bears and other wildlife, this is a gorgeous film to look at. It always amazes me the shots they’re able to get in the wilderness without harm coming their way. Along with the look of the film, the score and music are spot-on and really help drive the emotion. The narration by John C. Reilly is really good as well, as he is just the right amount of funny for the subject matter. The story does drag on a bit as the entire movie revolves around the bears hunt for food in order to prepare for the coming winter hibernation, but that’s easy to look past with everything else going on. With a duration of only 77 minutes, it might be hard for families to justify spending ten dollars per ticket. If your family is really into nature and/or loves animals, then Bears is a must see. Otherwise, it would be a perfect rental down the road for a family movie night.
Bears opens in theaters on Friday, April 18.