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Title: Disneynature: Bears

Movie: :4stars:
Video: :5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :2.5stars:

HTS Overall Score:88

“Disneynature: Bears” is a nature documentary that basically chronicles a year in the life of a mama bear (Sky) and her cubs Amber and Scout as they start from birth and range to the next years hibernation time. Sky is a first time momma bear and has two cuddly balls of fur, who are extremely adorable I might add, and it’s up to her to make sure that those cubs are well fed and taken care of in the Alaskan cold. Trotting out from their den in the Alaskan north, she and her cubs have to trek the mountains and cold to get down to the plains where they can forage for food. Once they get down to the green meadows they find out it’s not as easy as it looks. For now all they have to eat is grass and the occasional clam washed up on the shores. However, all is not lost for with different seasons, come different opportunities, and many of these opportunities are revealed as the tides go out and the ocean leaves behind many tasty treat for the bear cubs.

Life isn’t all fun and games for the cubs and poor mama bear, for these wild Alaskan areas are home to a great many predators. We have wolves looking to come in and steal a cub, a bit poppa bear who doesn’t like anyone in his way, and an outcast from the bears home who will do anything to survive, even if it means eating one of his own kind. Sky has to do everything in her power to keep an eye on her rambunctious offspring all the while continuing to look for food until the famed salmon hunting season arrives. Once that arrives she has to contend with the entire cadre of bears for food, not only for herself, but for her babies. As time gets shorter, Sky gets more desperate in her search for food, leading them up into the mountain towards the fabled “golden pond” where Salmon flock to in unbelievable quantities.


Documentaries like this one, are less viewed in the same light as we would other movies. We’re not looking for in depth plots, romance, drama and huge action scenes, but rather watching an experiencing what’s happening on screen, letting it wash over you and just soak up the gorgeous sights and beautiful audio. I’ve found that many a documentary, “Planet Earth” comes to mind, where it’s more fun to just have it set on loop for hours and leave it as a background image, pausing now and then to take a look and marvel at the beautiful landscapes. This is not to say that the film is devoid of knowledge, as John C. Reilly acts as the narrator, plying us with little tidbits of knowledge about bears in the wild as well as narrating the experience the bears happen to be in. This is also my only point of contention in the film, for John C. Reilly strikes me as a weird announcer. Sometimes he sounds just a bit too flat and lifeless and at other times he’s a bit too exuberant. He does a good job at narrating the experiences but I thought they went a bit too far with trying to give the bears a “voice”, so to speak and would rather have just had him narrating what’s happening in a more straight forward manner.

On a side note, To celebrate the release of “Disneynature: Bears” on home video, Disney is continuing their conservation program that started when this film was in theaters. For every purchase of this film on Blu-ray or DVD, Disney will donate funds to the national parks foundation, which funds and takes care of all our nations National Parks. So this is a time when buying a movie has a reaching and lasting effect into our own ecosystem.


Rated G for General Audiences

Video :5stars:
Now for the part of the review that most people are interested in. The digitally shot image looks INCREDIBLE on the big screen, with tons and tons and TONS of nature shots to satisfy the need for eye candy. The image crosses the Alaskan peninsula, inundating us with beautiful images that shows off the full gambit of colors, ranging from the lush green forests, the icy white of the snow covered tundra and the bright crystal clear blue of the lakes, offset by the bright pink of salmon flesh being munched on by the bears. Detail is simply jaw dropping, as you can see every hair on the bear’s hides, water dripping from the muzzle and even old battle scars on a few of the male’s snouts. To say that this is eye candy would be underselling it as I was literally glued to the screen the whole time, marveling at the gorgeous imagery and detail on screen. Being that it’s only an hour and 17 minutes of screen time on a full BD-50 we have NO incursions of nasty digital artifacting of compression issues. Simply put, it’s flawless.

Audio :4.5stars:
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track isn’t far behind in its quality. The moment you’re in the movie you realize that this is more than just your standard dialogue heavy track, being that John C. Reilly isn’t the ONLY sound in the picture. The surrounds are actually extremely active the entire film, whether that be in the midst of an avalanche of snow, the chirping of the birds overhead and to the side, and the rushing of the salmon filled streams during hunting season. Mixed with perfect dialogue that’s well balanced, it creates the perfect sense of sonic immersion for the viewer. Everything is perfectly detailed and nuanced, letting you hear the feathers of an eagle rustle, while at the same time hearing a bear roar off in the distance. The LFE is extremely impressive as it has more than a few spots that it shows off its power. I was expecting a rather mild mannered track that focused more on the narration, but we have a full immersive and VERY impressive experience here, one that adds to the enjoyment of the film just as much as the incredible video.

Extras :2.5stars:

• Welcome to Alaska
• The Future for Bears
• A Guide to Living With Bears
• How Did They Film That?

DVD only
• "Carry On" Music Video by Olivia Holt

Overall: :4.5stars:

“Disneynature: Bears” isn’t as long and in depth as some other documentaries I’ve seen, but being aimed a bit more towards the attention span of a child it’s hour and 17 minute length is just a perfect balance for those younger ones and allows for enough time to intrigue and give tidbits of knowledge to us older folks. The audio and video creates the perfect stage to allow it to act as an “experience” rather than a simple film. It’s sweet, funny and lighthearted enough to captivate and entertain multiple age groups and certainly is something I would check out if you enjoy those documentaries either as a background experience or to analyze for knowledge. Either I would give it a spin, Recommended.

Additional Information:

Starring: John C. Reilly, Lots of Bears
Directed by: Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Rated: G
Runtime: 78
Blu-ray Release Date: August 12th, 2014

Buy Disneynature: Bears Blu-ray on Amazon

Recommendation: Watch It

More about Mike

2,072 Posts
Thanks for the review. I do like these animal documentaries. Good photography and storyline. I will have to check this out. thanks.
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