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Five Views: Bears

April 22, 2014

Bears PosterBears – A Disneynature Release

Release Date: April 18th, 2014

Rated G

Running time: 77 minutes

Alastair Fothergill (dir.)

Keith Scholey (dir.)

George Fenton (music)

John C. Reilly as Narrator (voice)


©Disneynature. All Rights Reserved.

Sky and her two cubs Amber and Scout in Disneynature’s Bears.

Our reviews below:


Bears Review By John Corrado

*** (out of 4)

The fifth Earth Day release from Disneynature, Bears is another beautifully shot and appropriately family friendly wildlife documentary from the studio.  Narrated by John C. Reilly, the film opens with footage of a mother bear named Sky nursing her two adorable cubs, who are promptly called Amber and Scout.

Directors Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey follow the young family over the first year of their life in the Alaskan Peninsula, as they make their way down the mountain where they were hibernating to hunt for food.  But they face competition for salmon from male bears Magnus and Chinook, as well as lone wolf Tikani.  This allows for plenty of majestic images along the way, including a threatening avalanche and some stunning time lapse footage of the changing seasons.

There are also plenty of cute moments involving the cubs, and an amusing scene of the bears getting slapped in the face by spawning salmon, all set to John C. Reilly’s charmingly child friendly voiceover and fittingly folksy music.  At just 77 minutes, Bears is a likeable film that will help those of all ages further appreciate the wild world.


Bears Review By Erin V.

*** (out of 4)

Continuing in the Disney•Nature series, Bears is an all-ages friendly look at the lives of a mother bear and her two cubs over their first year out of the den.  While adults likely won’t learn anything new, the footage is all stunning (and often cute) to watch, and the narration by John C. Reilly provides a bit of a narrative story to follow along with particularly for the younger members of the audience.

The film is only 77 minutes which feels like the perfect length, and like the previous Disney•Nature films, part of the ticket sales will go towards conservation.  The perfect film to see with the family for Earth Day, Bears is another excellently filmed documentary from the off-shoot studio.


Bears Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Bears is the latest instalment in the Disneynature series.  The movie follows Sky, a mother brown bear and her cubs, Amber and Scout, as they search for food in the Alaskan wilderness.  On their quest for salmon and clams, they encounter other bears, including a huge male named Magnus, a submissive male named Chinook, and a lone male white wolf named Tikani.  When food is scarce, these animals see the cubs as a potential meal, so Mom has to watch out.

Bears is a bit more anthropomorphic than the previous Disneynature films, making it feel more juvenile.  But the cinematography is spectacular.  A shot of an avalanche looks almost like billowing clouds, and underwater shots of salmon capture their watery world.  Closeup shots of Tikani capture the beauty of wolves.  His eyes remind me almost of a big cat’s eyes, with their intelligent, golden glaze.

And the bear footage is also spectacular.  The power of brown bears is seen in the adult males, and Sky chasing off animals who wish to eat her cubs.  One also sees the bear’s power in their salmon fishing, shown in raw, unsugarcoated detail.  The fragility of the cubs is revealed throughout, from the opening scenes, to their adorable antics.  One funny moment involves Scout getting a clam stuck to his middle claw.

Bears encourages viewers of all ages to preserve the fragile ecosystems of the West coast.  This is a perfect choice for Earth Day.


Bears Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

For the last several years, Disneynature has released a feature film in honour of Earth Day.  This year’s feature is Bears.  John C. Reilly narrates as the film follows mama brown bear Sky and her two cubs Amber and Scout through their first year on the Alaska coast, from the time they leave their cozy mountainside den, through to their trek to find the rich pools of spawning salmon.

As always, the cinematography is gorgeous in this latest Disneynature film.  But adults looking to learn anything new about brown bears in Alaska will have to find another film.  Bears is about getting kids to have an appreciation for these majestic animals and their habitat.  It’s accomplished by giving the animals cute names, and narrating the incredible footage into a story kids can relate to.  And it works.

The cubs are adorable and there are many entertaining moments.  There is just the right amount of scary with threats from bigger male bears, Magnus and Chinook, and ever-present wolf Tikani, to keep older kids on the edge of their seats.  John C. Reilly’s narration is amusing and light, and the score by George Fenton works nicely.

Bears is entertaining and delightful to watch.  Fans of the Disneynature series will want to check this one out.  This is an Earth Day tradition that’s worth following, and I’m already looking forward to 2015’s feature, Monkey Kingdom.


Bears Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Bears, the current Disneynature feature released for Earth Day 2014, follows an Alaskan brown bear (Sky) and her two cubs from one hibernation cycle to another. The male Scout often puts himself at risk, being more inquisitive than his sister Amber, who sticks close to her mother. From their inland den, the bears must cross a small mountain range prone to avalanches to reach the coast for their first meals of shellfish. Later, they follow the upstream migration of salmon to their final spawning grounds, where the bears will gorge themselves for the following winter.  Along the way, they face competition from other bears, including dominant males and a lone wolf that threaten the cubs.

In the tradition of previous Disneynature True Life Adventures, Bears features beautiful scenes ranging from the inside of the den to vast landscapes, taking us into intimate details of animal life, all accompanied by a fine musical score from George Fenton. As in the other films, clips of production crews over the closing credits provide an inkling of the extraordinary efforts made to bring these images to us. Keeping in mind that with a folksy narration by John C. Reilly putting words into the animals’ mouths it is mainly meant for kids and not to be taken too seriously, Bears will no doubt prove as successful as the rest of the series promoting the importance of wildlife in the world.


Consensus: With child friendly narration from John C. Reilly, Bears is another beautifully filmed wildlife documentary from Disneynature, filled with breathtaking and sometimes adorable footage of the animals and their natural habitat. *** (out of 4)

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