SFF 2011 Review: THE GREAT BEAR
THE GREAT BEAR is an animated film that younger audiences will no doubt fall in love with. The story begins with a couple of young children, Jonathan and younger sister Sophie, going on a visit to see their grandfather. When Sophie is kidnapped by a giant bear with trees growing on its back, Jonathan sets out to save her. He joins an obsessed hunter who is determined to hunt down the 'monster' at all costs. In the mean time, however, Sophie discovers that the big bear is not at all scary and become friends with it.
This is Danish director Esben Toft Jacobsen's feature film debut. The film is animated beautifully, in particular the 'forbidden forest' and all the wonderful creatures living in it. While computer graphics are used, the look and feel of the film are very different from the 3D animated movies from Hollywood that we have become accustomed to. Many of the scenes have a painting-like texture to them, and are certainly wonderful to look at.
THE GREAT BEAR should appeal the most to young children because the story is simple, the great bear is cute and cuddly, and the film is filled with childhood wonders. The message of love for all creatures great and small runs throughout the film, which has led to comparisons being drawn with works of Hayao Miyazaki, the grandmaster of animation. While this film may not have the magic of Miyazaki's works, it is nevertheless a refreshing offering from a talented new director.