Some of the captures are absolutely stunning, where we see Treadwell crouching in the grass and allowing the bears to come up close to him, mostly out of curiosity, but also out of recognition that he didn't pose as a threat. While we are never convinced that he befriended the bears, we do see that he knew how to keep them from attacking him, and had a means to communicate with them at times. But with some of the other creatures he comes across there is a sense that he formed quite a bond with them, notably the cute foxes that a lot of footage is devoted to. Treadwell had names for all the bears and could distinguish between them and recognize them on subsequent returns. But his mental state, as is indicated through the self narration of his captures, was not in tune with our reality. It is said that much of his fame came when he was back at home lecturing about his adventures and creating awareness of their endangerment in schools.
We never see footage of these lectures so apart from the accounts of friends and associates, we are never convinced that this charming brilliance to educate existed. All we see are his obsessive videos directing wild, child-like, delusional behavior toward these extremely dangerous beasts. Sure, his lengthy isolation would have transformed him into a very different person but as a viewer we gather, much like Werner does, that his quest did not really make any difference to the existence of the bears. He documents them in captivity, but his juvenile rants about their beauty are also annoying and deter our attention from his spectacular surroundings. But the film just presents what he captured, and rarely judges his personality. It's a really tragic story, with the final minutes of the film being the last takes Treadwell made before his death. He was a man that had devoted his life to the grizzly bear, and his quest came at the ultimate price. It's a very interesting film, but it is never really captivating and the footage is often quite repetitive. But it certainly makes you aware of the lengths that some human beings are willing to go, to fulfill their dreams and live their passions.
My Rating: 3 Stars
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