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post #1 of 11 Old 08-08-2014, 08:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Bears (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review



This heartwarming and visually spectacular film from DisneyNature showcases a year in the life of a bear family as two impressionable young cubs are taught life’s most important lessons.



The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

92



Details:

Studio and Year: Disney - 2014
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time: 78 minutes
Genre: Documentary

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Starring: John C. Reilly
Directed by: Alastair Fothergill & Keith Scholey
Music by:George Fenton
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 12, 2014


"An epic story on a breathtaking scale"


My Take:


In an epic story of breathtaking scale, Disneynature’s adventure “Bears” showcases a year in the life of a bear family as two impressionable young cubs are taught life’s most important lessons. Set against a majestic backdrop teeming with life, their journey begins as winter comes to an end and the bears emerge from hibernation to face the bitter cold. The world outside is exciting—but risky—as the cubs’ playful descent down the mountain carries with it a looming threat of avalanches. As the season changes from spring to summer, the brown bears must work hard to find food—ultimately feasting at a plentiful salmon run—while staying safe from rival male bears and predators, including an ever-present wolf.

The narrative centers on first time mom “Sky” and the raising her two tiny cubs, “Amber” and “Scout” which in and of itself is a pretty overwhelming task. Clearly she’s a strong mother with good instincts, which is fortunate because life on the Alaska Peninsula is tough as they make a momentous trek to find the food they’ll need to make it through next winter. I generally find nature based documentaries to be fascinating and like to see untouched places and animals that reside in their natural habitats within those locations. Disneynature’s Bears is a charming film that follows this family in the Alaskan wild. Watching them interact amidst the daily routine is enlightening as they search for food, avoid danger and strengthen familial bonds. The fantastic footage captured by the filmmakers of both the Bears and the surrounding landscapes is simply stunning. I am not so sure that John C. Reilly was the best choice to narrate but he does a decent job conveying the spirit and warmth of the endeavor.

Families everywhere can now travel to a majestic Alaskan wilderness teeming with life without leaving home. Watching the documentary pieces on the making of the film is a clear indication of the dedication and self-sacrifice necessary to bring Bears to fruition. It is clearly a labor of love for all involved. I watched it with my family and we all found it to be elucidating, heartwarming and beautifully captured. Here is some information from Disney concerning their conservation program:

To celebrate the in-home debut of “Bears,” Disneynature is proud to continue the conservation program initiated with the film’s theatrical release. For every purchase of the movie through August 19, 2014, Disneynature will make a donation through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, to further protect and conserve endangered or threatened wildlife and wild places as well as enhance field research across more than 2.9 million acres of National Park Service land.


Bonus features on this Blu-ray Combo Pack, and Digital HD include the music video for “Carry On,” featuring Olivia Holt, and four making-of featurettes, including “Welcome To Alaska,” which tracks the filmmakers as they set forth on an epic journey to film Sky and her cubs out in the wilds of the Alaskan frontier; “The Future For The Bears,” which spotlights a special visit to the film’s production from legendary primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall; “A Guide to Living With Bears,” which introduces viewers to the guides who instructed the filmmakers on how to work with these magnificent creatures; and “How Did They Film That?,” which provides an inside look on some of the extreme filmmaking that went into getting shots high in the mountains and under frigid cold water.



Parental Guide:

This film should be fine for general audiences.


AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**



Audio: 84
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA




Video: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:



Bears comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 34 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 Mbps.

This is a reference quality high definition presentation that boasts brilliant color, superlative depth, and an abundance of high level detail. The nature defined color palette is alluring as the deep, vivid, greens and resplendent earth toned hues leap from the 1.78:1 framed video. Contrast balance is spot on and blacks are delineated, deep, and rich. Resolution is impeccable as the vastness and scope of the recorded elements offers lucid, three dimensional acuity that is extraordinary. These beautifully captured images of our planet can be captivating as the richness of color, transparently rendered detail, and near infinite sense of depth and dimension are assuredly conveyed in high definition.

The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack delivers the elements contained within this documentary film with aplomb. John C. Reilly's running narration is clearly rendered with smooth intonation and appropriate depth. The front three channels are integration nicely and combine high level detail/clarity with pinpoint imaging. George Fenton’s music score has appreciable top end air and refined instrumentation as its primary elements are delivered through the front speakers with enveloping rear channel ambience used to broaden the soundstage. The surrounds are effectively used to reproduce the various sounds of the Alaskan wilderness via near field panning effects and low level atmospherics. This isn’t an aggressive surround mix but this audio presentation mates perfectly with the source and sounds great.



Bonus Features:
  • (HD) Welcome To Alaska - Journey with the filmmakers into the Alaskan wilds to film Sky and her cubs.
  • (HD) The Future For The Bears - Experience the thrill of living with the bears during production, and the importance of protecting the wilderness to ensure their survival…and our own.
  • (HD) A Guide To Living With Bears - Learn how the team interacts safely with these magnificent creatures.
  • (HD) How Did They Film That? - Get an inside look on some of the extreme filmmaking that went into getting shots high in the mountains and under frigid cold water.
  • (HD) “Carry On” Music Video By Olivia Holt.
  • Bonus DVD
  • Digital HD Copy





Final Thoughts:

Disneynature Bears is a visually stunning documentary that presents viewers with an intimate and heartwarming look at these fascinating animals living in their natural habitat and much of what that entails. As you might expect from Disney Blu-ray it looks stunning in high definition and features crystal clear lossless sound and worthwhile supplemental material that offers enlightening insights into the production as well as animals and their homeland. Bears is definitely worth seeing and can be enjoyed by the whole family so it gets a recommendation on Blu-ray.





Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews



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JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS PC12-NSD
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
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Last edited by Ralph Potts; 08-08-2014 at 12:01 PM.
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-08-2014, 11:56 AM
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Thanks for the review! Seems like it needs to be bought.
Question:
Is the narration by John C. Reilly or Tim Allen, or both?
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-08-2014, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fitbrit View Post
Thanks for the review! Seems like it needs to be bought.
Question:
Is the narration by John C. Reilly or Tim Allen, or both?
Greetings,

John C. Reilly only. Thanks!


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post #4 of 11 Old 08-09-2014, 04:14 PM
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Excellent, this will be a blind buy. Tim Allen would have been a better choice, but JCR it is.

sent via Morse code...........

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post #5 of 11 Old 08-14-2014, 02:17 PM
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Excellent film and insane VQ (Panavision 65?)
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-15-2014, 05:13 AM
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Blu-ray arrived yesterday afternoon and we watched it last night. Fantastic video quality and certainly a 'demo' disk when we show friends our system. Great additional material about what was involved in creating this Blu-ray, which took two years. We have got to get to Alaska some day and see this beautiful part of our country in person.
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-15-2014, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodpaine View Post
Blu-ray arrived yesterday afternoon and we watched it last night. Fantastic video quality and certainly a 'demo' disk when we show friends our system. Great additional material about what was involved in creating this Blu-ray, which took two years. We have got to get to Alaska some day and see this beautiful part of our country in person.
Greetings,

We just returned from an Alaskan Cruise rodpaine and you're correct. It is indeed beautiful..


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post #8 of 11 Old 09-25-2014, 01:16 AM
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Hi Ralph

This was a great recommendation and excellent review ! The picture quality is worth a thousand words alone and the audio is a perfect match indeed with the on screen content, with a few thunderous surprises not expected! The family and I loved it and good to see family entertainment of what seems yesteryear still conjures up good feelings
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post #9 of 11 Old 09-25-2014, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiofan1 View Post
Hi Ralph

This was a great recommendation and excellent review ! The picture quality is worth a thousand words alone and the audio is a perfect match indeed with the on screen content, with a few thunderous surprises not expected! The family and I loved it and good to see family entertainment of what seems yesteryear still conjures up good feelings
Greetings,

Awesome Jeff!

As always your input is valued and much appreciated...


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Watched this on a rainy Sunday morning with the family and we all enjoyed it very much (me, the most…). My youngest (2) wasn’t too engaged while the movie was on and started to play elsewhere in the house, but my oldest (5) could follow the story and characters. I was concerned I would have to fast forward through one scene
Spoiler!
. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this movie for younger viewers (5+), although there are a few salmon eating scenes that show some blood which may make your children uncomfortable.

Overall, a good family flick with an amazing A/V presentation. Thanks for the review Ralph – I’ve added many blu-rays to my watch list based on your recommendations. Keep up the great work! It’s very much appreciated.
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post #11 of 11 Old 10-14-2014, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UGAd13 View Post
Watched this on a rainy Sunday morning with the family and we all enjoyed it very much (me, the most…). My youngest (2) wasn’t too engaged while the movie was on and started to play elsewhere in the house, but my oldest (5) could follow the story and characters. I was concerned I would have to fast forward through one scene
Spoiler!
. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this movie for younger viewers (5+), although there are a few salmon eating scenes that show some blood which may make your children uncomfortable.

Overall, a good family flick with an amazing A/V presentation. Thanks for the review Ralph – I’ve added many blu-rays to my watch list based on your recommendations. Keep up the great work! It’s very much appreciated.
Greetings,

Awesome UGAd13!

Thanks very much for sharing your impressions.


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