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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Bears

By
Joseph McAleer
Source: Catholic News Service


Sky, Scout and Amber star in a scene from the movie "Bears."
Mother knows best, even in the animal kingdom, as demonstrated in "Bears" (Disneynature), a wildlife documentary about a year in the life of an Alaskan brown bear and her two cubs.

This fifth offering from the Disneynature series, directed by veterans Alastair Fothergill ("Chimpanzee") and Keith Scholey ("African Cats"), is an innocently voyeuristic treat for just about every age, a marvel of moments great and small captured in stunning cinematography.

Narrated with brio by John C. Reilly, "Bears" starts deep in the den at winter's end. A mother bear, nicknamed Sky, is nursing her two newborn cubs, Scout and Amber. The long hibernation period is over, and the moment has arrived to go out into the wilderness to search for food.

Time is of the essence, we're told, as half of all newborn bear cubs do not survive their first year—victims of starvation and predators.

So we follow the trio as they make their way down the mountain to the sea, hoping to feast on migrating salmon. Sky must fatten herself up so she can survive the next winter's sleep and provide milk for her cubs.

There are obstacles along the way, including other, not-so-friendly bears who guard their feeding grounds, and even nastier wolves who like to eat bear cubs.

Mom also must contend with the emerging personalities of her offspring. Amber is shy and stays close to home, while Scout is mischievous and rambunctious, and often in need of rescue.

Such sentimental anthropomorphizing (a Disney hallmark) can be intrusive, making one wonder just how elaborately edited this "true-life" adventure is.

Moreover, the cutesy and cuddly quotient in "Bears" is off the charts. Fortunately, moments of ferocious fighting remind us that these are wild animals, not pets. In fact, the savage interaction may be a bit too intense at times for the youngest of viewers.

The film contains scenes of animal combat. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I—general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G—general audiences. All ages admitted.

*****
Joseph McAleer is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.





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Joseph Calasanz: 
		<p>From Aragon, where he was born in 1556, to Rome, where he died 92 years later, fortune alternately smiled and frowned on the work of Joseph Calasanz. A priest with university training in canon law and theology, respected for his wisdom and administrative expertise, he put aside his career because he was deeply concerned with the need for education of poor children.</p>
		<p>When he was unable to get other institutes to undertake this apostolate at Rome, he and several companions personally provided a free school for deprived children. So overwhelming was the response that there was a constant need for larger facilities to house their effort. Soon Pope Clement VIII gave support to the school, and this aid continued under Pope Paul V. Other schools were opened; other men were attracted to the work and in 1621 the community (for so the teachers lived) was recognized as a religious community, the Clerks Regular of Religious Schools (Piarists or Scolopi). Not long after, Joseph was appointed superior for life.</p>
		<p>A combination of various prejudices and political ambition and maneuvering caused the institute much turmoil. Some did not favor educating the poor, for education would leave the poor dissatisfied with their lowly tasks for society! Others were shocked that some of the Piarists were sent for instruction to Galileo (a friend of Joseph) as superior, thus dividing the members into opposite camps. Repeatedly investigated by papal commissions, Joseph was demoted; when the struggle within the institute persisted, the Piarists were suppressed. Only after Joseph’s death were they formally recognized as a religious community.</p>
American Catholic Blog The Church’s motherhood is a spiritual reality that profoundly affects the lives of believers. In fact, the famous convert to Catholicism Cardinal John Henry Newman once said that it was through his reading and encounter with the Church of the Fathers that “I found my spiritual Mother.”

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