John C. Reilly, Narrator


 Disneynature has created a documentary with a storyline about a mother bear and her two cubs, following them just before they emerge from hibernation through a summer of foraging for food and managing to stay alive.  John C. Reilly narrates an engaging story about Sky, the mother bear, and her two cubs, Amber and Scout.  They are followed in real life against a backdrop of breathtakingly beautiful snow-covered, mountainous terrain in Alaska and amidst avalanches, rainstorms, and sunshine.  Predators like wolves and male bears are always lurking about, and sometimes Sky has to fight them off.  They swim in ocean water, where they find mussels and clams, but their journey culminates in splashing over waterfalls to end up at Golden Pond, rife with salmon, where Sky will be able to eat enough to nurse the cubs through another winter.

 Reilly’s playful narration is entertaining, and he has the perfect voice for it.  As an example, one comment goes, “Scout does take-out, while Amber and her mother have a little sushi date” when they have found some seafood—not their favorite—but a kind that will tide them over until they can get to the more tasty and plentiful salmon.  It is very interesting to see Sky open up clams and mussels with her paws, and to see many of the animals fishing.  

 The two cubs are very different; Scout is always running about exploring or almost getting left behind and eaten by a wolf, while Amber rides on her mother’s back or sticks very close to her.  In consideration of children, the film shows endangerment, but never shows an attack on the cubs.  Likewise, when it shows two male adult bears fighting for supremacy, it’s done in slow motion and we see no blood or gore.

 I especially appreciated the calm, story-telling nature of this film; it really does have the feel of Reilly reading us a story, but in addition, we get spectacular visuals.

 I recommend this as a great documentary film for children.

Grade:  A