Bear (2010)
By: Devon B. on October 14, 2011  | 
DVD
Ascot Elite (Germany) | Region B | 2.35:1, 1080i | English DD 2.0 | 79 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: John Rebel
Starring: Patrick Scott Lewis, Katie Lowes, Brendan Caughlin, Mary Alexandra Stiefvater
Screenplay: Roel Reine, Ethan Wiley
Country: USA
External Links
IMDB Purchase YouTube
No matter how good any non-bear film is, it could probably be improved by including a rampaging bear. Casablanca, Flesh Gordon, even Citizen Kane...they all would've benefited greatly from a few bear attack scenes. Indeed, it is the great tragedy of the ages that the bear scene from The Wolfman remains unseen. My astute perception of the quality enhancement that comes from featuring a killer bear in a movie may have lead me slightly astray because I thought Bear was going to be great. Unfortunately even the bearless Citizen Kane might be a marginally better movie.

In Bear, a group of friends get a flat tyre in a slightly remote location, and while they're stuck a bear happens across them. They freak out and one of them kills it with a handgun, which I think would be far harder to do in real life than it is in this movie. Its mate promptly turns up 'cause grizzly bears hang out with their mates in this alternate universe. With their bullets spent, the friends wind up trapped in their vehicle in a Cujo like situation. In fact, this movie is so like a combination of Grizzly, Orca and Cujo that it could be called Cujorcly. Or Grizorjo. There're a few "interesting" guesses put forth by the people as to why the bear doesn't just break into the vehicle and kill them all straight away, but my theory is it was just padding out the run time by letting them blather on inside. While the bear bides its time the cast have plenty of opportunity to wonder whether the bear has gone, despite the fact that it must be close 'cause you can see the fencing that contains the bear almost every time they look outside.

Whenever the title character is off screen, Bear succumbs into boring melodrama territory. The film does have some unintentional humour, like the logic the people use to try to justify some of the bear's zanier decisions or the nod to the dog flashback in The Hills Have Eyes 2. There's also a truly inspired bit of madness which has the people barricading themselves in the busted up vehicle with an umbrella. Yes, an umbrella. The script is inane and the acting quality is at the low level I expected, but I was quite happy with most of the bear's screen time. Thankfully it's usually a real bear, but there are some man-in-a-suit moments, one of which is pretty laughable.

The only thing this movie has going for it is the bear, but I guess, given the title, the film doesn't really try to hide that fact.

Bear has been released on DVD in Australia but I couldn't wait for that, so imported a Blu-ray from Germany. I may have done this simply so I could refer to the disc as Bear-ray, which in hindsight may not have been the best criterion for making a purchase.
Video
Bear is presented at about 2.35:1 in a 1080i transfer, and it's not a sharp presentation. Haze, trailing, black crush and smearing are all present, and even the occasional artefact pops up. The film is a murky mess, looking worse than an upscaled DVD. Perhaps it's not all the Blu-ray's fault and the film has a dodgy master, something that must be considered given some shots appear to have been taken with a Camcorder, but regardless the film looks awful. Bear is also available in a 3D version, but I suspect that would look just as bad but with a bit more dimension.
Audio
Talk about being spoilt, here we have the option of either German or English 2.0 mixes. The future of home viewing, today! On the plus side, I could understand all the dialogue, on the downside, it's a Blu-ray with a 2.0 mix!
Extra Features
Despite being a German release, the extras are all in English and have no subs. The longest extra is a commentary with Ethan Wiley and director "John Rebel". Rebel sounds like someone attempting a British accent, and I suspect he's Wiley putting on a voice. If Rebel is a real person and this is really how he sounds, then I feel sorry for him. The highly visible fencing is explained, but the commentary bizarrely says the wires were effectively removed. Also included is the film's trailer, which warns about the danger of messing with a bear that's territory has been "invated". There's also a short interview with the bear's trainer which was better than the entire commentary, and a slightly longer interview with Chris Walas which is actually pretty cool because he shows stuff from other movies he's worked on like Gremlins and The Fly.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
With a decent script Bear could've been an okay Cujo knockoff, but it falls short so its only value is the use of the real bear and some unintentional laughs. I realise this review has essentially been me trying to find a bunch of ways to say the movie's not that good but it has a real bear, but that's really all there is to it. Big points for a real grizzly, otherwise this would probably score a 1 out of 5. If you do want to check it out, stay away from this release as a well done DVD transfer would be of much higher quality.

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