Grizzly Man (2005)

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Released 16-Aug-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-In The Edges: The Grizzly Man Session
Short Film-Open Season: By Velcrow Ripper & Heather Frise
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-2046, Night On Earth, Exils, Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!
Trailer-Paris Texas
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 99:55
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Werner Herzog
Studio
Distributor
Madman
Madman Entertainment
Starring Werner Herzog
Timothy Treadwell
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $27.95 Music Richard Thompson


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The untimely and tragic death of Steve Irwin is a reminder that all creatures in their natural environment can be unpredictable and sometimes deadly. Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard also fell victim to that unpredictability in October 2003 when they were killed and subsequently eaten by an aggressive grizzly bear.

    Living mostly alone, Timothy Treadwell spent thirteen summers living amongst grizzly bears in the remote Alaskan wilderness. He regarded himself as their guardian angel - a protector against trophy hunters and a protector of their environment. During the last five of those years, he meticulously documented his experiences on videotape. Treadwell would appropriately position his camera to capture his footage, most of which would feature him talking to camera, with the bears somewhere in the frame. He was particularly selective about the quality of the content and would often film many takes. Some of this wonderful footage makes up the heart and soul of this documentary, Grizzly Man.

    His goal was to not only protect the bears, but also to educate the public. He spoke to many thousands of school children over the years, delighting them with his stories. He did this without requesting any fees and he became something of a minor celebrity.

    Renowned German director, Werner Herzog's abilities as a filmmaker are beyond question, as admirers of his films will gladly testify. In telling Treadwell's story, Herzog selected prominent and relevant footage from over one hundred hours of videotape. Interviews with family, friends and associates also enrich the film by adding an extra dimension to the process. Herzog has structured the film superbly, balancing Treadwell's eccentric personality with his genuine desire to make a difference and the horrible tragedy that cut short his life.

    Throughout the film we witness the overly obsessive and possessive nature of Teadwell's interaction with the grizzly bears. He naturally had many altercations with wildlife authorities over the way he conducted his controversial operation. On many occasions we watch Treadwell's close contact with bears, which always ends with the bear backing off. He becomes increasingly confident with his theories and practices, which only reinforces his conviction that if he follows his rules, the bears will not harm him.

    On October 6th 2003, Willy Fulton landed his plane on a remote section of the Alaskan Peninsula in order to collect Treadwell and his girlfriend at the season's end. Strangely the pair was nowhere to be found, but the presence of a highly aggressive grizzly was an ominous sign. Fulton wisely and quickly retreated back to the plane and performed a low flyover of the area. The bodies of Treadwell and his girlfriend were soon discovered dismembered and in the process of being eaten by the grizzly. Treadwell's camera was rolling, but the lens cap was still on - only sound was captured.

    Although she has never listened to it, that final tape is in the possession of Timothy's former girlfriend, Jewel Palovak. Herzog rightly spares us from listening to the tape, but we do observe his reaction to the horrific audio and his request to Palovak that she destroy the tape so it can't be heard ever again.

    In an interview for television Treadwell says, "I would never ever kill a bear in the defence of my own life. I would not go into a bear's home and kill a bear". In a sad twist of irony, the bear that killed Timothy and Amie was subsequently shot and killed by authorities.

    While opinion will differ on Timothy Treadwell's methods and theories, it is hard not to admire his passion and determination for the cause that ultimately took his life. Werner Herzog has made a compelling and very moving documentary on the life of this eccentric, passionate and misguided man, who became a victim of the unpredictablity of the natural world.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer for Grizzly Man varies, but is generally excellent.

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is also 16x9 enhanced. This is close to the films correct aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    Much of the footage used in this documentary comes from Timothy's video cameras, so the quality tends to be slightly soft, without causing any irritating issues. The interviews and additional footage filmed by Herzog exhibit outstanding sharpness and clarity. Black depth and shadow detail was on the whole excellent.

    The quality of colour from all sources was consistent throughout the documentary. Colours were well balanced and natural, with no adverse saturation issues.

    There were no MPEG artefacts in this transfer. Film-to-video artefacts were well controlled and not problematic. Film artefacts were essentially non-existent.

    There are no subtitles available on this DVD.

    This is a single sided, dual layer disc. The layer change occurs at 14:41 during the Open Season short film and is noticeable, but not overly disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer is perfectly adequate for the content of the film.

    There is only one audio track available on the DVD, English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kb/s), surround encoded.

    Dialogue quality was impressive throughout. I had no problems hearing and comprehending any of the dialogue. Audio sync appeared to be spot on.

    The music score by Richard Thompson is superb and compliments the film beautifully. Thompson's warm guitar melodies are enhanced with cello, piano and light percussion.

    The surround channels were active predominately in the music score. Swarming insects are busy in the rear channels at 10:29.

    Likewise, the subwoofer came to life moderately with the music score.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The selection of extras is interesting and relevant.

Menu

    The main menu is well designed and suitably themed around the film. It features some clever animation, with a music sample from the film and 16x9 enhancement.

Featurette - In The Edges: The Grizzly Man Session (53:52)

    This insight into the production of the musical score for Grizzly Man is fascinating and pleasing to the ears at the same time. In December 2004, Werner Herzog and Richard Thompson had assembled a small, but very talented group of musicians to piece together the music for Grizzly Man. Herzog was very particular about what he required for various scenes in the film and Richard Thompson had the knack of capturing the precise musical mood for these scenes. Recommended viewing.

Short Film - Open Season : A film by Velcrow Ripper and Heather Frise (47:50)

  This 1997 film is not directly related to the film Grizzly Man, but follows the same theme. It documents a group of bear hunters in British Columbia and the animal rights activists that hope to spoil their prospects of a kill. Bear Watch is a fiercely determined group of activists that goes to extraordinary lengths to not only save bears from being shot, but also to hopefully shame the hunters into repentance.Open Season shows both sides of the argument, with interviews and compelling footage that is often, quite confronting. The film is non-judgmental and allows the audience to make its own conclusions.

Theatrical Trailer

    Grizzly Man (2:18)

Directors Suite Trailers

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 version differs from the R4 version marginally.

    The R1 version misses out on       

    The R4 version misses out on

    Unless the presence of the subtitles is particularly important, I would choose the R4 version because of the bonus extra.

Summary

    Werner Herzog's  documentary on the life of controversial grizzly bear preservationist Timothy Treadwell is enthralling and deeply moving. Highly Recommended.

    The video and audio transfers are excellent overall.

    The selection of extras is substantial and relevant.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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