Directed by Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey.
Narrated by John C. Reilly.
2014 78 minutes
Rated: (nothing objectionable).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, August 8, 2014.
Following in the footsteps of their schmaltzy previous two nature docs, 2011's "African Cats
" and 2012's "Chimpanzee
," DisneyNature regains the dignity of their brand with the simple, sweet "Bears." The story is the opposite of hard-hitting, but the rapturous photography captured by directors Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey, as well as the inviting voice-over narration by John C. Reilly (2014's "Guardians of the Galaxy
"), make it worth a visit. Rising from winter hibernation, mama bear Sky leaves her den to journey with cubs Scout and Amber across the snowy mountains of the Alaska Peninsula for the lush valley below. Set over the course of the spring and summer seasons, Sky and her children search for food, learn to defend themselves against a preying grey wolf, and spar against alpha-male bear Magnus. As with all of nature's creatures in the wild, survival is not guaranteed. "Bears" spends too much time in the second half observing Scout and Amber as they frolic around without much else happening, but watching the fierce protectiveness of Sky and the diverse relationships between all of these animals is enough to pull in the viewer. Not without its contrivances as it caters to younger audiences, "Bears" is a nonetheless earnest, adorable real-life adventure.