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Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Grizzly Man Diaries

The Grizzly Man Diaries-Video

I got the opportunity to see "The Grizzly Man Diaries." I saw the 2005 documentary "The Grizzly Man," a while ago and I thought it was really well done. The documentary captures how Treadwell spent his life with grizzly bears for a third of the year for 13 years in Katmai National Park in Alaska. The bears were everything to Treadwell, and he really considered them human. Treadwell camped out in the park, and captured almost everything he experienced through video, photo, or recording it in his journal.

The documentary ends after explaining how Treadwell came to a brutal death at the hands (or claws, actually) of the very animal he had devoted his life to. A savage grizzly. "The Grizzly Man Diaries" does a great job of filling in the rest of the story.

While the documentary is a great recap of Treadwell and his endeavors, the Diaries is everything that's missing. You truly get a glimpse into how much the bears meant to Treadwell. Not only that, but the footage he gets is unreal. As you watch, you can't help but notice the massive powers of the bears that he came to love. In various instances, Treadwell comes close to a dangerous encounter with grizzly bears, but softly talks to them, and they end up leaving him alone. Treadwell, after this had happened a few times, was now convinced and overconfident in his abilities. He thought the bears loved him and cherished him, as he did them. He personified them. This was the mistake that cost him his life.

The Diaries is all the unseen footage no one ever saw that Treadwell took while living at Katmai. It also shares his journal entries, that he kept frequently while living with the bears. It truly is a remarkable thing to view, and especially after you take into account how much time Treadwell spent there, and how absolutely close and unafraid he was of the bears.

The footage alone is enough to make you surprised. On numerous accounts, Treadwell gets amazing shots of the bears fishing for salmon as they swim upstream to spawn. Time after time, the bears pull a champion fish out of the water, to tear it apart with their teeth and claws. Treadwell captures on film multiple fights between bears, both play wrestling and in a show of dominance, or for a potential mate. He captures the bears mating, and an intimate moment between a mom and her cubs as she nurses them.

All this is underscored by the fact that Treadwell, while he knew so much about the bears, seemed to dismiss how dangerous they were, and that they would not hurt HIM. Sadly, after his girlfriend Amie came to visit him in his last year at the park, a bear attacked and killed both of them. The entire thing is captured on audio, as one of them started recording before the bear struck, thinking that it would be a good opportunity for film.

The eerie thing when you watch the documentary is how Treadwell seems to note that his own demise is imminent. While never saying it outright, he seems perfectly comfortable with the fact that he would one day die because of a bear. This alone is shocking. Treadwell makes multiple references both on camera and in his journal that the bears could kill him easily and acts like he almost EXPECTS it.

I do recommend watching it, as it was very entertaining, educational, informative, and just an amazing sight.

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