The documentary, to some extent, is discussing what is Timothy Treadwells true reason for his summers with the bears. As a filmmaker, Treadwell manages to capture beauty – the fox playing on the top of the tent and then sitting outside, Treadwell tracking the chase following the playing in the grass, etc. Its fascinating this footage of the foxes – ‘Ghost’ and ‘Spirit’ – and if it wasn’t for the majesty of the Grizzly bears, this footage alone could show a fascinating insight into nature. As Herzog states himself, it really is warm and comforting to watch these playful animals amongst nature.
One opinion he doesn’t state is what he thinks of Treadwell’s ex-girlfriend (opposed to the girlfriend who died alongside him). She is quietly reserved about her real personal connection to Treadwell – she was a girlfriend, she was an employee, etc – but did she like him? love him? did she fear when he was out in the summer? did she argue with him about the safety or the danger of he grizzly bears? or did she feel the same? We see her receiving the watch he wore – we even know how it was found, attached to a ripped-off arm, post bear-eating – and she wears it, amazed it still works. It simply feels like she perceives it as some sort of prize or something – I don’t know how I’d feel if my ex-partner was eaten by a bear, but I feel that if I was given anything so attached to them I would simply break down – never having it captured on film and I sure as hell wouldn’t wear the watch. Thats just me. Maybe she is a stronger woman.
Funnily enough, in a film rooted in archive footage we do have a few interesting film references. Notably when Treadwell wakes to find that, around his tent, are piles of rocks – one of which has a smiley face on (uh-oh, a wanring?). Two years after the release of The Blair Witch Project you would imagine he would get the reference but, alas, he does not. He even see’s the message from the ‘poachers’ of ‘see you next year’ as some sort of threat – does it not just acknowledge his -and their – stance. As he will track and trace the Bears next year, they also will will track and do-what-they-do- next year. No ‘warning’, no threat – just a little joke.
The description of the final audio of both Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend is referred to a fair few times – obviously it is exceptionally powerful, but it also explains to us how the situation was in highly moving detail. Treadwell being attacked first, while Amy tells the bear to ‘go away!’ standing loyal to Treadwell before being killed herself. Her death, many people – including people featured in the documentary – is the real tragedy. A woman who wasn’t mad – crossing lines she knew she shouldn’t cross. This woman even thought that Treadwell was “bent on self-destruction”. Timothy Treadwell had demons in his closet – frustrations he vented through the camera akin to diary about the park itself and his trouble with women, etc. Amy did not want to appear on camera and was scared of the bears herself – is it possible that this choice to bring her along changed Treadwells composure and attitude – prompting the attack?
To close this (I need to write shorter reviews!), Treadwell regularly states throughout the documentary “I will die for these bears”, and he was granted this wish. His final videos are clearly very eerie and, although he believes in his ‘quest’, you question whether he understood enough about himself and the bears, to want to fight against it so strongly.