Bears (Disneynature) (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)


“Bears” continues DisneyNature’s commitment of taking viewers on a journey with beautiful, up close cinematography of the animals and their environments.  This is a gorgeous and enjoyable family film that I definitely recommend!

Image courtesy of © 2014 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Bears (DisneyNature)


DURATION: 78 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

RATED: G (General Audiences)

RELEASE DATE: August 12, 2014

Directed by Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey

Music by George Fenton

Edited by Andy Netley


John C. Reilly (Narrator)

An epic story of breathtaking scale, this heartwarming and visually spectacular film showcases a year in the life of a bear family as two impressionable young cubs are taught life’s most important lessons. Families everywhere can now travel to a majestic Alaskan wilderness teeming with life without leaving home as “Bears” arrives on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, and Digital HD featuring stunning high definition picture, transporting sound, and exciting bonus features both parents and their children will love.

In April 2014, DisneyNature released their latest nature film “Bears” directed by Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey and narrated by actor John C. Reilly (“Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Anchorman 2: The Legend continues”, “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”).

filmed at Katmai National Park in Alaska, the film focuses on a grizzly bear mother named Sky who gives birth to two cubs: Amber and Scout.

As the bears leave the den, it becomes important for the bears to get to areas for food and salmon in order for Sky to have more milk for the next hibernation for the cubs.

But the bears must deal with many dangers such as avalanches, threats from other huge, mean, dominant bears such as Magnus and Chinook who have no problems eating bear cubs and also the threat from a wolf known as Tikaani.

But the life of the bears are challenging (very few survive the first year) and the decision making and training that Sky must provide her cubs must be precise or else she and her cubs will not survive the winter.


“Bears” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1) and the detail of the film is amazing.  It’s one thing to marvel of how close the filmmakers were able to get of the bears during hibernation but the fact that they were able to follow these bears, get close to them, made a big difference as you can see their strands of each bear and even the wolves’ fur.  You can see the clarity even underwater of the salmon and also in the air with the beautiful scenery of Alaska.  Picture quality is absolutely breathtaking and I saw no problems with banding, artifacts or any negative issues.


As for audio, “Bears” features a soundtrack that relies on narration and the sounds of the wild.  Featuring crystal clear narration from John C. Reilly, we can hear the directional sound effects from the sounds of the avalanche, Magnus and Chinkook fighting to the bears splashing in the water and more.  Good use of LFE and also a solid soundtrack by George Fenton.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.


“Bears” comes with the following special features:

  • Welcome to Alaska – (6:07) Director Keith Scholey and crew talks about filming the bears in Alaska
  • The Future for Bears – (6:37) The future of bears and a little about humans interacting with bears on a  basic level and having Dr. Jane Goodall at the filming of “Bears”.
  • A Guide to Living with Bears – (7:05) Filming bears and the challenges involved and working with guides such as Simyra Taback-Hlebechuk who grew up with bears and how they can predict their movements and making sure the crew is not being threatened.
  • How Did They Film That? – (7:22) Shooting two years in the wild, this featurette shows how they were able to film the bears underwater, in sky and more.
  • “Carry On” music video by Olivia Holt – (1:36) A partial music video of “Carry On”.


“Bears” comes with a slipcover.

When it comes to DisneyNature films, especially one that follows an animal and its children, while the storylines tend to be banal of a journey rifed in danger, what makes “Bears” so fascinating is how the filmmakers are able to get upclose and personal.  It’s one thing to film in Katmai National Park and later to Lake Clark National Park but the fact that we get to see bears of all animals up and close is very fascinating.

While I knew of a mother bear needing food to store for the next hibernation for her cubs, its the mannerisms and how the mother bear teaches her young over a period of time is what I found most fascinating.

From the playfulness and curious Scout to the more mama’s girl, Amber (who chooses to ride on her mother than walk like her brother) but also capturing the danger right on the spot.   Despite having trained guides and a small film crew, you could tell that there were risks for the filmmakers as well, from avalanches to an animal in the wild.  You just never know.

But the fact was that the footage captured was fascinating, gorgeous but also personal and intimate and I never have watched a documentary about grizzly bears (typically a lot of documentaries have focused on polar bears) and for the most part, the journey from the cubs exiting out of their den for the first time and returning back, was quite entertaining.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is amazing as the crew were able to get upclose and personal and thus close-ups feature great detail.  Meanwhile, the lossless soundtrack features John C. Reilly and his ability to showcase humor but also provide really good narration for the DisneyNature film.  Lossless audio features crystal clear audio and special features do a good job of showcasing how the filmmakers were able to get up close and personal with the grizzly bears.

Overall, “Bears” continues DisneyNature’s commitment of taking viewers on a journey with beautiful, up close cinematography of the animals and their environments.  This is a gorgeous and enjoyable family film that I definitely recommend!