From Walt Disney’s Disneynature comes this fascinating nature documentary for the whole family. Filmed in Katmai National Park, Alaska, Bears follows a family of bears, Sky, and her two bear cubs, Amber and Scout, over the first year of the cubs’ lives. Opening on the bears’ awakening from the long winter hibernation in their den, when the two cubs are still relatively small, it follows them as the family first ventures out into the world and the cubs get their first taste of the perils of the wild, be it the dangerous and hungry male bears who might very well eat the two defenseless cubs without the careful and watchful eye of their mother or a wily wolf. Over the seasons, and as Amber and Scout grow, becoming more confident, the film follows them and mother Sky as they forage for clams, eat grass, and get the big feast of salmon that all the bears, and even other animals, all depend on to help fatten up for the coming winter.
Narrated in a pleasant manner by John C. Reilly (Guardians of the Galaxy; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues) that youngsters can relate to, this film is easily understood by even the youngest members of the family, and Disney, while not avoiding the dangers that the bear family faces, makes sure to keep the most graphic images out, so as not to frighten the younger members of the audience. Despite maintaining this G rating, adults will not find this film dull at all. In fact, the filmmakers do well to make it rather interesting, and tell an engaging, at times funny, and heartwarming tale.
The big star of Bears, outside of the obvious brown bears that feature so prominently, however, is the fantastic cinematography. This is imagery on the level of BBC, Planet Earth type filmmaking. Gorgeous vistas, beautiful landscapes, rivers glistening, verdant fields shimmering with colorful flowers, and intricate details picked up in beautiful, clear macrophotography. You won’t want to look away for a second.
This is fantastic. There isn’t much else to say. The AVC/1080p encodement to Blu-ray of Bears is flawless, capturing the beautiful cinematography of this gorgeous film with clear, crisp reproduction, free from noise or other anomalies, catapulting Bears to the upper echelons of nature documentaries when it comes to video showpieces and home theatre references.
The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) is also a reference quality sound mix. With a natural range of dynamics, it places the full and clean narration of John C. Reilly in the center and surrounds us in the sounds of the natural world, be it a thunderous avalanche, a rainstorm, or the growl of two bears tussling. The mix is balanced, full and very easy on the ears with an airy high end and nice extension into the low end.
A collection of short featurettes gives behind-the-scenes looks at Bears‘ production, the state of the bear population in Katmai National Park, and also a music video from Disney artist Olivia Holt.
- Welcome to Alaska (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:06:07)
- The Future for Bears (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:06:37)
- A Guide to Living with Bears (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:05)
- How Did They Film That? (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:23)
- “Carry On” music video by Olivia Holt (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:36)
The Definitive Word
This beautiful, heartwarming nature documentary becomes an instant classic that is fit for the whole family to watch. The Blu-ray is visually and aurally astounding, so get it ASAP.
Additional Screen Captures