Oh My
Review by Ross Anthony

"Black ones -- fight back, Brown ones -- lay down, white ones -- feel the bite." Executive Producer Chris Palmer prefaces this ballet of bears, "Our crew carried pepper spray and learned to tell the difference between bear scat (feces): Black bear scat has berries and squirrel fur; Grizzly scat smells like pepper spray."

With bear numbers dwindling, this production shows off the bear in all its glory in hopes of winning your affections and preservations.

We follow an Alaskan naturalist who takes visitors into the wild so that they might get a close up view. Though a spectacular salmon feast is promised to the bears and the audience by the narrator, that prediction never pays off ... leaving both unquenched. Though the salmon were probably pretty pleased, I'd wager.

Then in Montana, a drowsy black bear wakes from its slumber, sliding down a slope of snow while, stretching its bones. A couple of cubs squawk, too cuddly cute for words. I could have sworn Jim Henson was hiding in that den, working those animals from the rear (yikes).

Which segues nicely into the entomology of the infamous "Teddy Bear." Apparently (we're told) President Teddy Roosevelt (an avid hunter) found himself with a pouty-faced bear cub at the barrel end of his rifle. Teddy's sparing of this cub made for a media delight and the animal became instantly known as ... well you know.

Included, a sweet cub tussle and a truly dramatic first swim for the little guys across a strong river.

Though apparently the most dangerous, the white puffballs of the north seem so affectionate. They roll in the snow, teeth and claw striking contrast to the ice. And when they're finished playing, these largest of all land predators munch on a few seals (not shown) - or (eek) polar bear cubs (also, left only for narration).

In sum, though the film makes great strides toward "rehabilitating" the image of the bear ... much of that distance is halved by a scene in which seven bears savagely claw at each other after finely catching a measly salmon or two between them.

  • Bears. Copyright © 2001.
  • Starring Smokey, Yogi, and Winnie. (Just kidding.)
  • Produced by National Wildlife Federation.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:18:50 PDT