DisneyNature Bears (Blu-ray)

August 5, 2014 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

You know, it’s really amazing what nature has to offer. Having always lived in an urban setting, I think it’s very easy to forget just how many different forms of life are truly out there. A few years ago my wife and I were on vacation and were visiting Yosemite National Park (along with 50,000 other people) and as we were driving through, my wife all of the sudden became convinced that a bear was going to attack our car. Yes, our car. Not one of the other thousands out there, but ours. Obviously that never happened, but it also got me to thinking that bears have gotten a bad rap as, well, animals. As we venture out more and more into “their” territory, the bears become a bit more desensitized to us and our surroundings. We hear stories of bear attacks, a bear walking through a town and so forth, but if you do a little research a bear’s life is all about one thing: food. Of course, lest we forget, they are dangerous animals but maybe after viewing this documentary people will think twice before judging our furry friends.

As they did with Chimpanzee, DisneyNature has crafted an amazing look at the literal year in the life of a mother bear, Sky, and her two cubs: Amber and Scout. Narrated by actor John C. Reilly, we literally follow Sky and her two cubs from their birth through the first year of their lives. The shots are so close and personal, we forget that there’s a person holding a camera to get that shot. We’re greeted with amazing and spectacular shots of the Alaskan wilderness as Sky looks for food to feed her young.  Of course, it’s not all roses along the way as the trio must deal with other bears and predators.  Though beautiful, the Alaskan terrain is difficult, hilly and probably isn’t that easy for two cubs who are just learning how to walk. John C. Reilly’s calming and sometimes frantic voice adds a bit of character to this documentary and for those that want to see a year in the life of a bear, I really can’t think of a better way to have it showcased than like this. Highly recommended.

Video: How’s it look?

Presented in a 1.78:1 AVC HD image, Bears looks stunning in every aspect.  From the close up shots of the cubs, to the majestic Alaskan frontier, this is one of the more brilliant live action efforts I’ve seen in a quite some time. The detail is absolutely breathtaking as we can pick out the little clumped up hairs in Sky’s mane, the avalanche seems to be alive as it moves down the mountain and it’s as if we can see each leaf on the trees. Contrast is solid, I noticed no issues with banding or grain on the print. Simply put, this is an amazing-looking transfer that’s sure to please.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The majority of the audio is relegated to some surround sounds as well as cries from Sky, Amber and Scout. The, pardon the pun, lion’s share of the audio comes from John C. Reilly as he guides us through the year in the life. There’s a bit of a score in some scenes as well. This isn’t one disc that will shake the room, but then again it’s not supposed to. This DTS HD Master Audio mix does deliver and it’s proof that sometimes less is more.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The majority of the supplements are exclusive to the Blu-ray, so let’s dive in and see what to expect.

DVD Extras

  • Music Video – “Carry On” by Olivia Holt.

Blu-ray Exclusives

  • Welcome to Alaska – Journey with the filmmakers into the Alaskan wilds to film Sky and her cubs.
  • The Future for Bears – Experience the thrill of living with bears during production and discover the importance of protecting the wilderness to ensure their survival…and our own.
  • A Guide to Living with Bears – Learn how the team interacts safely with these majestic creatures.
  • How Did They Film That? – The crew takes on epic filming challenges to get the shots shown in the film.

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