Richard Harris, Bryan Brown. What began as a thrill-seeking, grizzly bear hunting expedition for a father and son, turns ugly fast after they capture a pair of cubs. When the mother bear locates her stolen offspring, she abducts the boy and a most unlikely bond between the boy and the bear begins to develop. 1994/color/94 min/PG/widescreen.
is a gorgeous, hopelessly old-fashioned film that's unlikely to attract the viewership it ought to--none of the characters is particularly witty or clever; special effects, save a few stunts with a bear, are nil; and the irony level is at an all-time low. In other words, prying the kids away from Pokémon
to watch this movie may be a challenge, but it's worth the effort. Daniel Clark plays Harry, a lad of around 8 who accompanies Tyrone (Bryan Brown), his thrill-seeking dad, on a mission to the Colorado Rockies, where he intends to be the first to capture a live grizzly. It's the early 1900s, so the means by which Tyrone plans to snare the beast aren't especially humane--at a saloon stop, he hires five tough guys, one with a team of hounds. Then the hunt begins. The hounds' punishing master quickly emerges as a villain; when he and two dogs are mauled by the grizzly, he exacts revenge by caging the bear's cubs. She, in classic righteous-mother mode, retaliates by dragging Harry into the woods. What follows is a desperate chase through beautiful countryside by tireless Tyrone and the blossoming of an impossible boy-bear friendship. Mizzy, as Harry comes to call the bear, protects him from dangers of the wild while leading the boy to her caged cubs, who are traveling east with the ornery houndskeeper. There's a showdown when the animal family is reunited, but Harry and Tyrone extinguish a series of confrontations handily, then move on to cement their own iffy relationship. The surplus of action scenes in this PG-rated movie will wow kids 8 and up, and only jaded viewers will summon the callousness to crack wise about its unapologetic portrayal of blind loyalty and courage at all costs. --Tammy La Gorce
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.