In Quest for Fire, Annaud tried to explore our primal emotions by delving into pre-history; here he attempts much the same thing, although this time it's not our ancestors but the beasts with whom we share the planet that are intended to shed light on our deepest instincts. At the turn of the century in British Columbia, a young kodiak bear, suddenly orphaned, takes up with a massive wounded grizzly. Inevitably, the cub undergoes the usual rites of passage, his awareness of death enhanced by a couple of hunters determinedly tracking his adoptive dad. Despite the enormous and very evident technical expertise involved in making the film, Annaud never manages to dispel memories of those Disney features in which animal behaviour was presented in human terms. This being the '80s, there's sex'n'violence (baby bear sees daddy bear getting it on with a local floozie bear; a clash with trappers ends in vivid realistic gore), not to mention an uplifting ecological finale. Otherwise, it's simply a ripping yarn, too prone to anthropomorphism to work successfully as a proper study either of ursine behaviour or of our own relationship to their world.
Cast and crew