In his mesmerizing new film, GRIZZLY MAN, acclaimed director Werner Herzog explores the life and death of amateur grizzly bear expert and wildlife preservationist Timothy Treadwell. Treadwell lived unarmed among the bears for 13 summers.
Do not pop this DVD into your player expecting a Planet Earth kind of documentary where breathtaking and stunning visuals will enthrall your senses. Released in 2005 and missing a theatrical release in Singapore (what’s with dated films getting releases only now, anyway?), we finally have a kind distributor who has decided to bring in the well received and award winning documentary to our sunny island. As mentioned, instead of the beautifully framed visuals you’d usually expect from nature documentaries, this Wener Herzog (Rescue Dawn) directed picture is one frightening viewing experience. In fact, it is disturbing. No doubts about that. Period.
The documentary is put together with over 100 hours of footages filmed by Timothy Treadwell, an American grizzly bear specialist who traveled to Alaska periodically to study and live with the bears. The hot blooded wildlife preservationist wanted very much to study and protect these wildlife creatures. Unfortunately, he was attacked and killed by a grizzly bear in 2003, and the tragedy also befell on his girlfriend Amie Huguenard. German filmmaker Herzog then made sense of these footages, and together with interviews with his friends and family, released this documentary autobiography which went on the win the Alfred P. Sloan Award at the 2005 Sundance film Festival.
Sounds like an inspiring story? Wait till you delve into the deep realms of Treadwell as he obsessively talks to the camera about his passion for bears. While he finds solace in these endangered animals, you’d feel his enthusiasm (which almost crosses the boundary into infatuation) towards the bears. That’s a good thing, we hear the environmentalist in you say? You have to see how Treadwell almost treads into madness and depression during many of the self filmed footages. Then you’ll understand the deep and dark side of the human mind if things are not put in balance.
Watch how Treadwell curses and swears at the administration which he believes isn’t doing enough to protect the bears. Watch how he curses and swears when rain isn’t falling to provide water for the bears. Watch how near he goes to the bears, as if they would understand his every word and gesture enough not to hurt him.
There are also distressing images and interviews where Treadwell’s friends and family would talk about his troubled childhood, his distressed growing up years and his fascination with bears. Heart wrenching descriptions by the coroner would also affect you without having to see the decapitated bodies and hearing the screams on the last found tape. Most interestingly, you’ll hear Herzog’s narration interspersed throughout the 100 minute film. Always engaging, you’d realize that Treadwell is one human being who isn’t just fighting the system – he is against the whole civilization that has disappointed him in ways more than one.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
This Code 3 DVD contains no extra features.
Because the documentary is put together by Treadwell’s tapes, the visuals aren’t exactly crystal clear. The movie is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 English.
by John Li