Release Date: August 12th, 2005 (NYC-Angelika Film Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas) by Lions Gate Films.
Directed by Werner Herzog.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about Timothy Treadwell who lived with grizzly bears in Alaska before a bear killed him and his girlfriend Amie in October of 2003.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The beautiful natural locations in this documentary become a character of their own. The cinematography perfectly captures the awkward silence of nature that can turn chaotic and violent in any second. It is amazing how Treadwell risks everything in order to live in harmony with the bears. Some of the bear cubs are cute but the older ones look menacing and unfriendly. Treadwell is crazy to think that these animals really care about him. Granted, he is no Dr.Dolittle, but his passion and even love of these bears is very fascinating. How he manages to maintain an ongoing relationship with his girlfriend is a mystery since he spends so much time with the bears. What makes him likeable is that he is often funny in an off-beat in a Steve Irwin sort of way. There is a hilarious scene when he rants into the camera against civilization. His rage is a little off-putting, but it further justifies how peculiar this man is. There is one crucial scene that includes a lot of graphic content when his death is described in full detail along with a tape recorder that was on during the brutal killing. Fortunately, the horrific sounds of the killing are not shown to the audience.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The issue of mankind's relationship with nature is a very large theme. Humans have domesticated many animals and spent time helping them as well as showing them off in zoos. However, Treadwell's tragedy is a reminder that there is definitely a boundary for how far a human can control and get involved in nature. The harmony with nature is just in one's mind because nature does not love back. If only Treadwell realized that there is something called the food chain which is key to the evolutionary process. Bears don't have morals or ethics like humans. They don't love back--if they are starving, they will naturally eat him. Clearly, he lived in a child's fantasy world. Nonetheless, he was very happy in this little world of his. The scene where he shows the most happiness does not include any bears; it is when he accidentally forgets to turn off his camera off as it shows the wind blowing against the trees in a very quiet, simple and truly peaceful way.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
THE BOTTOM LINE: A very moving documentary with beautiful footage and plenty of insight about the deceptively harmonious quality of nature.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "G" Menu