Brad Reviews Grizzly Man

GrizzlyMan.jpgThis weekend I went to see Grizzly Man, written and directed by Werner Herzog, a documentary covering the death of Timothy Treadwell, a self proclaimed animal researcher/activist who lived with the Alaskan grizzly’s for 13 seasons before he was mauled.

The picture is a rather strange watch, a mixture of interviews with friends, doctors, field professionals and the footage taken by Treadwell over the years. The Treadwell footage taken on the Alaskan peninsula has some truly remarkable moments captured completely unintentionally. You see, because I am thoroughly convinced -after watching the film- that Timothy Treadwell was an amazing idiot. A fool that towers over all fools. I will even go as far to say that he was borderline mentally handicapped in some way. Displayed in the Treadwell footage is a man who spends so much time in the woods, that he rejects the human world, loosing his mind to some extent but yet remaining concerned about his appearance and his fame.

Many times throughout this film, you are astonished by what this man is able to do, and the fact that he has no experience in the field, no biological knowledge of these animals or the wilderness he is living in, drives you mad and irritates you. For example, there is a scene were Treadwell becomes overly emotional by the scat of one of his favorite grizzly’s. Placing his hand over the waste, almost to the point of tears, he remarks on its warmth, caressing it and educating the audience by telling us that “this poo came from her butt,” continuing by becoming spiritual and connecting with the bear because the “poo” was part of her, it was inside her and now he has been inside her too. This is clearly the mental dribbles of a child, and Timothy Treadwell reverts to this child like mentality throughout the movie.

[ Find out what you should do after the jump. ]

Right when you are at the point of total frustration of the idiocy you are watching, Herzog cuts to interviews. Some of the interviewees are truly informative, like the bear researcher who explains how there is no threat on the bear population within the peninsula Treadwell inhabited, debunking Treadwell’s hypothesis -of course Treadwell probably couldn’t spell hypothesis- and further solidifying the delusional stupidity that is Timothy Treadwell. Other interviews included an actor friend of Treadwell’s who seemed to be overdoing it and acting a bit melodramatic, an ex-girlfriend who was just as irritating as Treadwell, the doctor who completed the autopsy on Treadwell and his partners corpses who was to nervous to even be included in the film and a few other people tossed in for good measure.

During the interviews, Herzog continues to narrate the film and ask the interviewee questions pertaining to Treadwell’s life and thought processes. Herzog is a bit monotone and dull, almost Ben Stein like and putting you in a trance. Luckily, once the interviews become irritating Herzog seems to know this and switches back to the footage taken by Treadwell.

Not to come off as an evil minded person, but I was expecting to see pictures of the mauled corpses and hearing the audio of the bear attack. This was not provided -which is probably better anyhow-, but Herzog almost rubs that in our faces and teases us by listening to the audio of the attack himself right infront of us. He listens to it using headphones, and remarks on how disturbing the audio was. This added more frustration to the movie, because you then want to hear it even more and are left feeling unimportant almost as if Herzog is saying I’m better than you and you’re not strong enough to hear this.

Timothy Treadwell’s footage at times is truly amazing. The amount of intimacy he creates with some of the wild animals on the Alaskan peninsula is mind blowing. Not only does he get uncomfortably close to the grizzly’s -roughly 10 yrds from the big adults and petting the younger ones- he also befriends a family of fox. The fox follow him around like his dogs, and every summer when Treadwell returns, the fox seek him out and spend the months with him at his camp sites. Unbelievable; almost as if the animals know how simple minded this person is, and sense no threat because of it.

The film tosses your opinions back and forth. I was about to walk out of the theater when more footage of Treadwell’s stupidity both captivated and frustrated me so much, it made it impossible to leave. To see a man who is obviously completely crackers, reject the human world to the point of throwing a temper tantrum when it’s time to leave Alaska, is jaw dropping.

It’s no mystery that Treadwell dies, but prior to watching the film I was unsure on how it happened or if it was a freak accident. After watching Grizzly Man you see how Treadwell and his pertner’s death were results of pure inexperience in the field -the guy didn’t even camp properly- and a complete lack of knowledge in animal behaviors. It is amazing he lasted as long as he did!

I would never recommend this movie to a friend, because regardless of its addictive attributes, the amount of astonishment and frustration caused by the stupidity of Timothy Treadwell, the interviewees and the monotone Herzog is painful. So you will have to make that decision on your own.

What should you do: See it if you wish. Intelligent people will become angry, and blockheads will think Timothy Treadwell is magic.

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23 thoughts on “Brad Reviews Grizzly Man

  1. I believe Timothy Treadwell was bipolar and escaped to live with bears because he had trouble living amongst people. He obviously had a few screws loose and wasn’t even a true nature nut. Look how he acted when finding a dead baby fox and bumble bee. He didn’t appreciate the cycle of life. He wanted to control it. I’m surprised he didn’t try to stop the two bears from fighting out of fear one might kill the other.

    He claimed to be “protecting” the bears, when in reality, he was placing them in harms way. Bears do not need the type of protection he thought he was providing them. Wild animals do not need body guards. He ended up getting two beautiful bears killed and might have even endangered several more. There are now several wild bears in Alaska who aren’t as scared of humans as they once were.

    If you want to protect the bears, stay out of their habitat or love them from afar. If one charges you…SHOOT it! And for heaven’s sake….please don’t play in their poo!

  2. Timothy “Treadwell” was a total “wacko” case! He was completely out of touch with reality living in his own made up fantasy world! He got what he deserved.

  3. I woke up in the middle of the night after seeing this film, wide awake, thinking about the pain and fear that Timothy and Amie must have suffered before they died. I became angry that a human being would think that he could bond with a wild animal. Seeing someone get that foolishly close to an animal that has no thought process except survival made me cringe.

    The only thing I could come up with was someone who was very sad and disappointed with the way his life had been going. It was like he was looking for the extreme “look at me”. Why would he risk the life of his girlfriend who was so afraid of bears? Wasn’t he messing with nature?

  4. Timothy obviously was a bit unstable, but he lived his life how he wanted and that’s beautiful.

    I left the theatre feeling a bit sad because of his death, but I also felt happy because he had at least found something he was completely passionate about. I think everyone wishes they could find that one thing they’re passionate about, just like Timothy was with his grizzlies.

    Highly recommend watching this documentary.

  5. Hey, what’s wrong with Brad’s review? Why does it “miss the boat”? What exactly IS the boat?

    I previously posted a link to an article where other people, some of them wildlife experts, were also frustrated or amazed by Treadwell’s weird, childlike behaviour. Their opinions were similar to Brad’s. If you have different opinions, good for you! This doesn’t entitle you to name his review “borderline incompetent”. And concerning the writing style, I had no problem understanding – if you find it “muddled, hard to read”, maybe there is a problem with you.

    And give the guy a break regarding Johnny Knoxville. He has the right to an opinion! I happen to disagree on it – it’s possible, but very unlikely to happen. Anyway, I don’t try to kick him each time he mentions it – I actually find it rather funny that he believes it would happen and keeps repeating it.

  6. You guys are harsh. Finally someone who writes what he thinks regardless of the reaction he may get and you rip him apart for it. So the guy has certain thoughts about the movie, he isn’t saying you have to have the same thoughts.

    My boyfriend saw this and thought it wasn’t very good as well, but he did say the bear guy was funny at times.

  7. Everything mentioned above about Timothy Treadwell just adds more depth to the story and gives me more reasons to want to see this film. He’s definitely an interesting character and the difference of opinions on whether or not he helped or hurt those bears is a worthy subject in my opinion.

  8. Everything mentioned about about Timothy Treadwell are just more reasons to want to see the film. He’s definitely an interesting character and the difference of opinions on whether or not he helped or hurt those bears is a worthy subject in my opinion.

  9. Some more info about Timothy Treadwell from

    > “He’s the only one I’ve consistently had concern for,” Tom Smith (U.S. Geological Survey bear researcher) said.

    > “He had kind of a childlike attitude about him.”

    Exactly what Brad noticed.

    > “I told him to be much more cautious … because every time a bear kills somebody, there is a big increase in

    > bearanoia and bears get killed,” Sterling Miller (formerly the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s top bear

    > authority) said. “I thought that would be a way of getting to him, and his response was ‘I would be honored to

    > end up in bear scat.'”

    Well… he eventually did. Anyway, based on what I’ve heard so far, the guy seems to have been a wacko, not just

    a “playful person”.

    > “Treadwell and Huguenard, who was in the process of moving from Colorado to Malibu to live with Treadwell, had

    > last been heard from Sunday afternoon when they used a satellite phone to talk to Jewel Palovak (a Malibu

    > associate of Treadwell). Palovak said she talked with Treadwell about his favorite bear, a sow he called Downy.

    > Treadwell had been worried, Palovak said, that the sow might have wandered out of the area and been killed by

    > hunters. So instead of returning to California at the end of September as planned, Treadwell lingered at Kaflia to

    > look for her. Palovak said Treadwell was excited to report finding the animal alive.”

    They aren’t mentioning anything about a plane ticket problem.

  10. Although I haven’t had the pleasure of checking out Grizzly Man yet, anyone who has seen a Werner Herzog documentary should expect the film to not only be about the subject, but about Herzog as well. As stated earlier, he is a large part of his films, usually narrating, and constantly putting himself in danger in some sort of test of will (La Soufrier was a documentary that found Herzog and his crew climbing up the side of a an active volcano, Lessons of Darkness took place in a post-Desert Storm Iraq documenting workers putting out the oil fires, Fitzcarraldo..etc.) So for those who are familiar with Herzog may find a connection between him and Timothy Treadwell, making complete sense why Herzog would choose this subject. To say that Herzog is dull along the lines of Ben Stein, just look at his work and his life experiences (he was supposedly captured and tortured during the filming of his documentary Fata-Morgana)

    Unfortunately I can’t comment on the film itself seeing as I haven’t seen it, but I can comment on Herzog and his contributions to documentary filmmaking, and i will assume Grizzly Man is no different.

    P.S. Anyone seen Project Grizzly? A great Canadian documentary along the same lines. However, many may be disappointed by the lack of bear maulings in that film also. Maybe Fox’s “When Animals Attack” specials might be more up your alley.

  11. “this poo came from her butt….it was a part of her”


    that is great, i am renting this movie just to see the delivery of that one line.

    /sounds like me and my last girlfriend

    //just kidding

    ///still gross

    ////and teh funnay!

  12. Wow. After reading Brad’s assertion that Johnny Knoxville is the next Brad Pitt, and now reading this review that just completely misses the boat on Grizzly Man, I have to say that I’m fairly confident I’ll never read one of his posts again. This review is muddled, hard-to-read, and borderline incompetent.

  13. I think you’re a tad insulting to children. I’ve not known any child that has caressed pooh, or “mentally dribbled”.

    Also what’s up with the end of your review, the last few sentences aren’t very coherent.

  14. I thought this was a fantastic film. I certainly do not find Herzog monotone or dull. I find this film as with most of his work intellectually engaging and I would recommend this to intellectuals and not people who are simply curious about Timothy’s death.

    I was lucky enough to attend an advanced screening some time ago and was disappointed by the massive amounts of people who thought they were going to see a snuff film. I was astounded that people were saddened that they deaths were never shown or heard.

    How exactly would using the audio benefit the film? Using the audio it would simply pander to the worst in human nature. Now, Herzog does interject himself. In many of his documentaries he is extremely present. Much like the films of Alan Berliner and Michael Moore he interjects himself in the story and becomes essential to the narrative (The film is about HERZOG√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢S opinion vs. Timothy√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s). I personally don’t see this as a filmmaker rubbing anything in our faces but simply telling a narrative in a personal style.

    This is a wonderfully thought-provoking film that I feel anyone can enjoy…Provided they don√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t go into the theater expecting gore. Alas, what it not seen or heard is often provides even more gruesome thoughts than any audio or video can produce.

  15. I respectfully disagree. TT was a playful person. Herzog was not. As a result, playfulness resembles lunacy through his dry lens.

    Further, what I believe is missing in the information released about the movie and the end of Timothy and Amie’s lives are the aberrations that occurred which led to their demise.

    1) He was in Alaska later in the season than ever before.

    2) He had returned to the area b/c of a plane ticket problem, or he would have been out of Alaska. It didn’t state it per se, but I believe Amie could have played the first round in the of saving her own life if she had used her ticket to leave. Herzog didn’t mention hers having a problem.

    3) The bears who knew Timothy were hibernating already.

    4) The bears in the area had come from farther in the back country.

    5) Food was more scarce b/c of the circumstances.

    6) Bears were hungrier.

    That’s why Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard died. They were at the right place at the wrong TIME, not just in the oversimplified wrong place.

    I wrote more on Aug 15 in my blog.

  16. I guess you could say that. But I did feel that it was rather difficult to watch, the only savior was this guys footage and watching him be so out there. Herzog’s on the other hand almost got in the way.

    I saw it at a Dipson theater here in Buffalo N.Y. I don’t know when it will be getting a Canadian release.

  17. Well the point of the movie is that I want to see for myself how stupid this guy is. It’s character study, am I right? The issue is not whether or not it was his fault he got mauled, the issue is what makes a guy like this tick?

    By the way, where did you see this movie? I don’t think it’s playing anywhere in Canada yet unfortunately.

  18. Sean, let me put it this way. If you don’t see it, you’re not missing out on anything. If you do see it, all you will really get out of it is being able to agree with those who have scene how stupid this guy was.

  19. I’m a little confused. You won’t recommend this movie because it causes astonishment and frustration in the viewer?? To me that sounds like a damn good movie. Obviously the subject of the film sounds a little loopy, but that is exactly what makes him a compelling subject for a documentary.

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