Is Disneynature’s Bears Too Wild For Your Kids?
By Chelsea P. Gladden, BreezyMama.com
Lately, it seems as though it’s getting harder to find a kid’s movie that isn’t too scary for my 5-year-old, yet can still keep her entertained. Frankly, I thought I’d be safe with another gem from the Disneynature series, and in general, this movie worked well for my daughter. However, Bears, like many quality wildlife shows, features the raw, often scary story of survival, which required this mama bear to be on high alert for scenes that might be too much for her litte cub.
Following a mother brown bear and her two newborn cubs for a year, Bears gives a glimpse into their lives: from waking up after hibernation in need of finding food, to avoiding avalanches, threatening rivals and other predators, such as a pesky wolf.
From the beginning, we learn that many cubs don’t survive their first year and immediately the tension is palpable. Fears that an overly hungry rival bear may try to eat them (and actually does go after them!) combined with the over-eager wolf ready to pounce the second the mom turns her back, lead to some anxiety-filled moments that had us on the edge of our seats.
To top it off, the mama bear’s conscious effort to search for food in less threatening environs nearly has her starving to death and you can actually start to see just how emaciated the nursing mother becomes.
Set in Alaska, the documentary is just as captivating a story as any animated cartoon; my daughter and I couldn’t help but root for our heroes every step of the way. Narrated by John C. Reilly, the script offers up humor and playful moments as well. Overall, it wasn’t too scary for my daughter, but the tense moments had her squirming.
At one point, the boy cub gets stuck in water as high tide comes in and my daughter reached for my hand as we hoped he wouldn’t drown. Another particular scene that my little cub found frightening was, “When the [male rival] bears fight.” Other than those moments, she seemed to handle the “scary” scenes well.
Since I saw Disneynature’s Chimpanzee (where the mother dies), I was concerned about whether the cubs would make it and they definitely tease throughout that they likely won’t! SPOILER ALERT: They do survive their first year and their mother fuels up on enough milk to feed them during hibernation to keep them alive for the next spring.
Taking a cue from my daughter’s reactions, however, Bears would be a little too intense for my 3-year-old twins, but any child over age 4 should be fine. Also, the pacing is on the slow side and toward the end, I was concerned it wasn’t going to hold my daughter’s attention for much longer as she started to get antsy in her seat. If your child has a short attention span for movies and television, this movie might not be a choice for her.
That being said, my daughter declared a few times afterward, “It was awesome!” She also added in the car ride home, “Mama, animals are great movie stars!”
Entertaining and informative, Bears demonstrates no matter what your species, a mother’s love for her family is a powerful thing — right down to the occasional bear hug.
Disneynature’s Bears opens in theaters everywhere 4/18/14
Grade on a scale of kid’s films: B
Rated G, Minor conflict among animals; Tense moments; 77 minutes
Watch a sneak peek here:
Image: Courtesy of DisneyAdd a Comment