Released just ahead of Earth Day, “Bears” could snuggle up handsomely with family audiences looking for some holiday weekend adventure, although it will have to fight for a share of the turf claimed a week earlier by the exotic birds of Fox's “Rio 2.”
Co-directed by Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey, who previously teamed on “African Cats,” the adventure takes place along the breathtaking Alaskan peninsula, where first-time mom Sky and her two tiny cubs, Amber and Scout, have emerged from hibernation and need to start addressing the food situation.
For a baby bear, getting to that sustenance isn't exactly a piece of cake, what with avalanches and predatory animals to deal with, including some of their own kind, like Magnus, the dominant alpha male in their neighborhood, and Chinook, a very hungry outcast who constantly poses a threat to clingy Amber and mischievous Scout.
By now it's a familiar tale of one family's survival instinct, but it's hard not to cuddle up to a cute cub, and all that fearlessly up-close-and-personal footage, set extensively against that untouched Alaskan coastline, nevertheless makes for a compelling excursion.
The inherent drama is boosted by George Fenton's seriously symphonic score and contrasts with those delightfully loose, animated voiceovers courtesy of Reilly, a big teddy bear of an actor if ever there was one.
What: Set against spectacular Alaskan scenery, this Disneynature film follows first-time brown bear mom Sky and her two cubs during their first year of life.
Where playing: Carmike-Dupont, Carmike-Jefferson Pointe, Coldwater
Running time: 1 hour, 17 minutes
No star rating available