Director: Alastair Fothergill
Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: English (DTS-HD High Res Audio), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Dubbed: French, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: August 12, 2014
Run Time: 78 minutes
Disneynature releases specialize in taking all of the harshness out of nature programs, glossing over heavier realities of life with cute images and humorous celebrity narration. Growing up, I remember watching the old Disney nature live-action films, and that is what I equate with the releases from this new Disney sub-studio. There isn’t much new in the narrative, but it is a nice family-safe introduction to nature documentaries.
Bears follows the success of other animal-specific films, Chimpanzee and African Cats, and is not likely to be the last in this series of films. Even though there are better nature programs that have been created about brown bears, lovers of the creatures will likely enjoy the images regardless of the film’s shortcomings. In a slightly manipulated narrative, Bears tells the story of a new mother and her struggle to protect and feed her two cubs in the first year of their lives. The narration is done by John C. Reilly, who has a laid-back approach to his voice-over.
Beginning as they emerge from hibernation at the end of winter, the film spends a majority of its running-time with the struggle to find food during the Salmon run in
. They must eat
enough to ensure the cubs are able to survive their first hibernation, and this
is a task made more difficult by the many dangers wherever the salmon is. This
mostly comes in the form of the alpha males, whose hunger makes them a danger
to the newborn cubs. Alaska
There isn’t much else going on in this narrative other than the feeding and fighting over the food, so that even at 78-minutes Bears feels a bit stretched. In many cases, the making-of narratives are more engaging than the predictable happy story contrived for the film, which is mostly what fills the special features of the Blu-ray. The Blu-ray combo pack also comes with a DVD and a digital copy of the film. The DVD has a music video by Olivia Holt in the special features. On the Blu-ray disc there are also four featurettes about the making-of the film, including one that specifically shows how certain shots were captured on film.
Entertainment Value: 8/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10
Historical Significance: 6.5/10