You really have to be some kind of jaded not to be mesmerized by Bears, the latest documentary offering from DisneyNature. At once simple and remarkable, Bears follows the journey of newfound mother Sky and her two cubs, Scout and Amber, from hibernation through spring and hopefully back again. It’s a dangerous world out there after all.
You feel it, too. It’s not just a series of quick shots and music full of dread. The dangers, which come in the form of avalanches, tides, foxes, and other bears themselves, all make themselves known and seen alongside our loveable trio.
A production of intrepid and dedicated filmmakers have set out to the peaceful isolation of Alaska wilderness, gaining what seems like incredible access to the world of territorial and protective behemoths. Mother Sky is hardly the biggest animal out there.
We meet Magnus and Chinook, a pair of alpha males who make some menacing appearances and threaten the lives of cubs Amber and Scout. By that point, we’ve already become completely attached; it’s easy too.
If you’re not won over by these beautiful creatures when they emerge from their mountain den, the young ones taking their first steps on the virgin snow and with the camera pulling back to expose a scenic serenity, then it’s when the personalities of Scout and Amber become distinct and familiar.
The former is quickly the curious and headstrong boy, who gets into trouble as much for being nosy as he does for being lazy. Amber meanwhile is content to hang with her mother, literally, as she hops on Sky’s back for rides across the mountains and meadows.
Narrated by John C Reilly, who can really do the cute and goofy thing without getting too annoying, this nature documentary respects both the animals and the audience, staying away from any specifics issues (ahem), but effectively balancing entertainment and information.