Movie Review: Disneynature Bears

I'm taking a break to write a review for the newest Disneynature film - Bears! I am a big fan of the Disneynature films for several reasons.  One, I think they're a fantastic tribute to the nature films himself produced. Two, I love the fact that the films give back to the environment, continuing the legacy of Roy E. Disney.  And, Three, there's something very beautiful about being able to experience animals up close.  I cannot explain the joy I feel being able to observe animals in their natural environment.  Bears continues the great library of films Disneynature has continued to build.

Bears follows a year in the life of a mother Alaskan Brown Bear named Sky and her two cubs Scout and Amber. During the course of the year, Sky must find enough sustenance in order for not only herself but her two cubs to survive the next winter.  Unfortunately, life is not easy for a mother bear as she must not only forage for food, but protect her young from predators such as wolves and other hungry aggressive bears.

But, life is not just full of hardships.  We see that bears can have a playful nature as well.  And, as much serious tension as there can be in the film, there are many lighthearted moments.  It's moments like this that you wish you could just reach into the film and hug the bears.  But, then, a moment later, they can engage in combat for food and you realize just how powerful these bears can be.

The scenes that I found most amazing, though, were watching the bears hunt the salmon as they made their way up stream.  You realize how keen the skills of these majestic creatures can be as you watch some of the salmon literally jump into their mouths.  It is a fascinating and beautiful sight indeed.

John C. Reilly provides the narration for the film and I think he does a good job at balancing the comedic moments with the more serious ones.  Reilly is able to make sure that some of the writing doesn't come across as too corny and reminded me of some of the narration of earlier Disney nature documentaries.

As with all Disneynature films, the cinematography is just breathtaking. The expanse of the Alaskan wilderness is just amazing.  One cannot take for granted that these films take us to places that humans don't normally or often traverse.  And, that said, one cannot take for granted how close the filmmakers actually get to the animals.  If you stay for the credits, you realize that the cameras are not capturing life from afar, but almost within arms length.  It's always fascinating to see how close they get and makes you wonder what the bears are thinking.

In this day of films that compete for the biggest boom and the most impressive special effects, I, for one, am grateful to Disney for releasing these Disneynature films almost every year not only to give back financially to save the planet, but also to our own education to make us appreciate our planet even more.


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