The Disney documentary "Bears" follows a family of brown bears — first-time mother Sky and newborn cubs Amber and Scout — as they emerge from hibernation and venture down to the Alaska Peninsula for the annual salmon run before retiring to their den for the winter.
Given the Disney anthropomorphized narrative, one can expect the proceedings to be more Animal Planet than National Geographic. Eschewing the de rigueur Morgan Freeman voice-of-god narration, the film opts for story time with John C. Reilly. At times it seems like an extended version of the Birds Eye Steamfresh Chef's Favorites commercial that humorously depicts another anthropomorphized bear family discussing what's for dinner.
"Bears" has warmth and fuzziness in spades, especially when the lot of them snoozes on logs. Amid its heaping serving of cuddliness, though, the film doesn't sugarcoat the harsh reality and unforgiving elements with which the bears have to contend.
How bears ferociously tussle for the prime fishing spot might frighten some young viewers. And while searching for salmon to replenish her fat reserves, Sky must fend off cannibalistic alpha males Magnus and Chinook and the scavenging wolf, Tikaani, from preying on her cubs. On more than one occasion, the survival of Sky and her cubs seems very much in doubt.
MPAA rating: G.
Running time: 1 hour, 19 minutes.
Playing: In general release.