Polar Bear

These polar bears wish we could go green.

Almost every year in celebration of Earth Day, Disney Nature releases animal documentary with a celebrity narrator and a faithfulness to the creatures and their environments. This year’s entry, released on Disney+, is called “Polar Bears,” which is about…..what else?

This is also the first documentary on the arctic bears I’ve seen since the IMAX short film “To the Arctic,” released a decade ago. My complaint at the time was that it was still the same expensive price for such a short film. “Polar Bear” is longer, running at 83 minutes, and free on Disney+. But it’s also cute and sad as we see their actives and hardships, particularly on how we’re treating our planet.

Catherine Keener narrates the film through the perspective of a female cub, who learns to survive in the cold arctic with her independent twin brother and nurturing mother. The mother bear hunts for seals and beluga whales to feed her cubs, while they play with each other. And all of them have to face a number of challenges like the ice melting, harsh winters, and a male polar bear, who isn’t too friendly.

With the ice melting, it’s nearly impossible to get food the best way possible. It’s usually an act of survival for the polar bears. Of course, as a Disney nature film for kids, you can pretty much guess that things will turn out okay for the main polar bears, who aren’t given names. Kids may engage themselves in the lessons, while adults will marvel at the emotions and environments.

I’m still worried about our environment, and believe me, I wish I could teleport, instead of driving my car. If it wasn’t for us, these polar bears wouldn’t be dealing with the warm conditions in their cold environment. So as, we see them dealing with the ice melting, we feel really bad for them. Even if I was watching this Disney Nature doc, I was already concerned about the creatures and their lives. In fact, we should all be concerned about how we treat Earth.

Outside the environmental issues, and like “Turning Red,” “Polar Bear” also teaches kids about the values of growing up. The girl polar bear must learn to hunt, fend for herself, and never judge male bears, and without voice actors and only narrators, she doesn’t succumb to the cliches of a coming-of-age genre. I mean, how could she? It’s a documentary directed by Alastair Fothergill and Jeff Wilson, who both previously collaborated on “Penguins.”

Keener narrates the film with a personality and passion, while the directors and cinematographers Rolf Steinmann all capture the beauty and images of the polar bears, seals, walruses, belugas, birds, and water. They all look clean and clear, even if Earth is trapped in pollution. “Polar Bear” wants us to care about these creatures, and, at the end of the day, we do.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Streaming on Disney+

Categories: Adventure, Documentary, Family

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