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1 rating: 5.0
A movie directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud

An orphaned cub and a wounded giant grizzly join together to begin a desperate quest to escape their most feared enemy - man. They travel across the unspoiled wilderness in their search for safety, until the hunted and the hunter come face-to-face with … see full wiki

Release Date: 1984
MPAA Rating: PG
1 review about Bear

The Bear – cute, cuddly, deadly

  • Nov 16, 2001
Pros: Bears, delightful. Scenery, fantastic

Cons: none except I discovered there was animation used :"(

The Bottom Line: A boatload of lessons to be learned, maybe even one for you.

The Oracle says: Tcheky Karyo has a Bacon number of 2.
Tcheky Karyo was in 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992) with Kevin (I) Dunn
Kevin (I) Dunn was in Stir of Echoes (1999) with Kevin Bacon ***

L' Ours aka The Bear, started production in 1982, starring 5 main characters. The hunters: Bill (Jack Wallace) and Tom (Tcheky Karyo) and the dog trainer Andre Lacombe. The other two characters are known as Kaar (Bart the bear) and Youk (Douce the bear). The amazing thing is, this 93 minute movie pocketed over $100 MILLION before it hit the United States.

Remarkably filmed, the entire movie is viewed through the eyes and the minds of the bears. The humans in this movie are second nature. It has been classified acceptable for children, but I would have to give strong thoughts to this before I let a child under the age of 10 watch the movie.

Not that there is anything shown, but the premise of the movie is Bill and Tom are bear hunters. They kill bears for a living. Not that I agree with hunting, I understand there are people that still need to hunt to survive, and I accept that concept. However, these men are killing the bears for their pelts only and not for the meat or for survival. Ok, I understand that selling the fur will give them money to survive, that is beside the point and is simply my bag, not yours.

Then again, the movie isn’t focused on the hunters but on the hunted, the bears.

Little Youk is just about as cute and cuddly as anything can be, in fact, he reminds me of that bear in the Snuggle™ commercials, only he is brown instead of white. A fat, roly-poly, ball of fur. Playful as any child, adapting the same characteristics as human behavior, we view most of the movie through his eyes.

His mother, early on, is killed in a rockslide, and Youk is on his own in the big, bad wilderness of British Columbia. However, Youk meets up with Kaar, a 2000 lb. male Kodiak bear, and sort of adopts him, often much to Kaar’s dismay.

Kaar isn’t as cute and cuddly as Youk, he is all male and proud of it. He sets about showing Youk the ways of the wilderness and it is darn near the ‘monkey see, monkey do’ training ground. The difference, of course, is their size, which adds even more to the story.

All the while, the hunters are on the move. Stalking their prey, which naturally includes Kaar and his beautiful pelt.

Kaar and Youk happen upon a fair miss, frolicking in the meadow, and Kaar gets the ‘urge’. As a show of his majesty, he begins to topple evergreen trees surrounding the grove where the fair miss is rolling around on her back and advertising her ‘wares’. Youk, not to be out done, tackles a small shrub himself. Poor thing, worked himself into a tizzy trying to get that 2’ tall bush to fall over, just like big, bad Kaar does the 15’ trees.

At the end of this little charade, the lovely lady hops up on all four paws and starts waddling off into a stand of trees. Now we get the pleasure of viewing the svelte flanks of the she-bear through Kaar’s eyes, as he watches her trundle off, her rump swaying to and fro, that little bob of a tail twitching. Needless to say, Kaar is fast on her heels and Youk is right behind them. As the adults snuggle down (or rather UP) to their mating, Youk looks on in dismay, laying his chubby little head on a tree stump and yawning.

Growing bored with all the grunting (his expressions are priceless), he bumbles off to a patch of mushrooms. Watching a bear get stoned and trippin on mushrooms is a treat I never thought I would have. Poor Youk has no idea what the Hell is going on, but the visuals are incredible, as well as the sounds.

And, still, the hunters continue tracking Kaar.

Kaar and Youk continue (after his cigarette and shower) on about their business and soon the hunters have them in their sights. The dogs are brought into play, chasing the two bears into their den, high up in the rocky mountains. Kaar, mighty warrior, defends the cub and unfortunately kills a few of the dogs. The hunters capture Youk and take him back to their camp and become enamoured with his antics, just as I was.

But they don’t give up on Kaar, for he is a beautiful specimen for sure.

Finally, boxing him into a canyon, the hunters and the hunted come face to face and …………..

Naturally, for me to go any further would ruin the story completely. See it for yourself. See it for the gorgeous scenery, the mountain, the sunsets, the sunrises, the beauty of all that God has created. See it for the idyllic introduction into a bears life, see it for the mushroom trippin bear cub, see it for the lessons learned between the adult bear and the baby bear. See it for the lessons learned between man and nature and the lessons learned in mans own mind.

But whatever you do, SEE IT!

might, MIGHT, be 2 dozen sentences of dialogue in this movie, so I can’t react to delivery of lines very well. Although, with those few sentences, we learn a good deal about these solitary men that join up for a few short weeks to ply their trade in the late 1800’s. Their personal expressions and reactions are well timed and appropriate for the movie and I think they were well chosen for their parts.

There is a great love of animals that comes forth from this movie. Not only the interaction between the hunters and their dogs and horses, but also the bears themselves. For the most part, the injuries or kills are never shown, but implied, left to your own imagination.

While there were real bears used for the movie, there was some animatronic additions made to add human characteristics to the bears, especially Youk as he huddles in fear in the den and it shows his little paws quivering. I was a little dismayed to see that notation in the credits, silly fool that I am, I liked to believe all the actions of the bears was real.

The voice applied to Youk was delightful. Often sounding like a baby with his grunts and groans as he tries to climb the mountains and keep up with his much bigger mentor. Sighs and laughter are also used, but not so excessively that it distracts from the idea that these are real bear sounds.

The musical score is fantastic and delivered by Philippe Sarde, at times playful and at times morose, as we watch these creatures go through their daily habits. Written by Gerard Bach, who adapted it from the novel The Grizzly King by James Oliver Curwood. Directed masterfully by Jean-Jacques Annaud, who also brought us Enemy at the Gates, Seven Years in Tibet and Wings of Courage. When needed, the animated bears were by Jim Hensons Creature Shop, darnit!

The Bear was nominated by the Academy for Best Film Editing (Noelle Boisson). Award? ZIP. A pity.


*** Compliments of: Department of Computer Science
School of Engineering, University of Virginia


Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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