Review: ‘Bears’ is a cute Disney doc about terrifying killers

Yes, "Bears" has cubs slapping eachother like the Three Stooges. Credit: Keith Scholey
Yes, “Bears” has cubs slapping eachother like the Three Stooges.
Credit: Keith Scholey

Directors: Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey
Genre: Documentary
Rating: G
3 (out of 5) Globes

Earth Day is right around the corner. So, you know what that means: Disney is ready to drop another nature documentary into theaters. Under their Paris-based Disneynature, the Mouse Factory is giving the kids “Bears,” an obviously fuzzy, visually spacious look at the wild behemoths (and Stephen Colbert’s legendary foes) in their natural habitat. Like in previous Disneynature docs, there is a storyline at work here. The film follows Sky, a mother bear, and her cubs Scout and Amber as they spend a year trekking through the Alaskan Peninsula, over wintry mountains and lush fields, in order to find some watery spots and fish for/gorge on salmon.

As adorable as it makes Sky and her kids out to be, “Bears” thankfully reminds audiences that these creatures are still hardcore killers who can turn on their own in a minute. This is certainly the case whenever the trio comes into contact with more treacherous bears, like king-of-the-mountain Magnus, who starts eyeing the cubs when fish food becomes sparse. (The movie still gives Magnus a sympathetic side by showing him pitifully trying to mate with a female bear.) They even have to contend with Tikaani, a scheming wolf who’s constantly lurking around.

All the while, John C. Reilly provides cheeky, off-camera, color commentary for what’s happening onscreen. While Reilly’s signature, dopey voice adds a consistently playful tone to the proceedings, one wonders if the movie needed Reilly’s voice at all. Directors/Disneynature vets Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey, teaming up again after 2011’s “African Cats,” assembles enough of a clean, obvious narrative with the footage they shot, complete with mood-shifting music cues (“oh, a harmonica is playing – fun stuff is about to go down!”) from veteran wildlife-doc composer George Fenton, that kids could probably figure out what’s going on without it.

While “Bears” puts the fam through several suspenseful moments, you suspect that these animals won’t be in any serious, desperate danger. After all, this is still a Disney movie. (However, this would explain what happened to the other mama grizzly and her cubs that, according to the movie’s original synopsis that came out last year, were also supposed to be in the movie.) As always, “Bears” is another Disney doc that, along with proving that IMAX doesn’t have the lock on kiddie-attracting nature docs, manages to entertain children while subtly drilling some knowledge in their heads about animals and nature and whatnot.

Follow Craig D. Lindsey on Twitter @unclecrizzle


Drive charged in fatal hit and run, police…

The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit and run in Manhattan last weekend. Doohee Cho, 33, was hit…


Mayor de Blasio raises minimum wage for some…

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday morning that will raise the minimum wage for workers employed by private companies that receive more…


3 myths about the working poor

Linda Tirado works to debunk some common stereotypes about the working poor in her new book, "Hand to Mouth."


Lawsuit funding advances: friend or foe?

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Many plaintiffs awaiting resolution of their lawsuit or legal claim often find themselves in a tricky financial…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…


Interview: Metro chats with filmmaker Meir Kalmanson, man…

A New York filmmaker hands out smiles to its residents.


TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 30: 'Selfie,' 'Utopia'…

'Selfie' This modern day take on the "My Fair Lady" story stars John Cho in the Henry Higgins role. Perhaps instead of "the rain in…


Can't-miss weekend events continue to attract the masses

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Earlier this summer, the Firefly Music Festival drew crowds of tens of thousands of people to Dover, Delaware.…


Mets 2014 report card

The Mets wrapped up their eight straight season without a playoff appearance last weekend. Needless to say, they fell a bit short of general manager…


NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb


Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.


3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…


Products that support breast cancer awareness and research

Asics GT-1000, $100 Asics’ third pink collection in collaboration with Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women includes this pink-accented version of its best-selling GT-1000 3…


Dr. Marisa Weiss: Where we stand on breast…

As an oncologist and a survivor herself, Dr. Marisa Weiss knows the urgency felt by those diagnosed with breast cancer. Genetic testing has accelerated the…


Bees' stingers hold new hope for cancer cure

A promising new lead in the search for a cancer cure has turned up in a place that most people naturally avoid. A team from…


Emily Henderson on small space design

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us how to upgrade our cramped quarters.