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Off Topic: Film Review - "Grizzly Man" (Herzog, 2005)

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Of course, this is foremost a site dedicated to baseball and, more specifically, the Blue Jays. However, I'd like to take a break from spring training news and game recaps to briefly discuss one of the better films I've seen in quite some while.

"Grizzly Man" is not simply an exploration into the habitat of the grizzly bears, foxes, and the various other animals who inhabit Alaska's Katmai National Park and Reserve; it's an exploration into the life and death of a man, Timothy Treadwell, who devoted thirteen years of his life to studying and, in his view, protecting those animals.

The film's director, the highly esteemed Werner Herzog, was privy to approximately 100 hours of video footage that documented Tidwell's passion for the animals with whom he cohabitated during thirteen summers of his life. It must be noted that term "passion" is not being used loosely, either; rather, Treadwell literally suffered for the animals, as he isolated himself from civilized society and continually risked his life in pursuit of his objective.

Herzog's narration is a chilling, uninhibited way of effectively interconnecting the scenes and advancing the plot. He never feels restricted to voice his opinion when he so inclines and, like most of the audience, he struggles to adopt Treadwell's sympathetic, noble mindset towards nature. Instead, he only sees the violent indifference of nature and the animals who inhabit it.

However, Treadwell romanticized that very same environment. After numerous perceived sleights and personal wrongdoings in the world of humans, he viewed this new world -- a world completely devoid of other people -- to be his sanctuary. Instead of perceiving, as Herzog did, the dangerous, brutish world of the animal kingdom, Treadwell deluded himself into thinking otherwise. In the end, Treadwell didn't continue his annual expeditions to simply protect and enhance the lives of the animals; he did so to protect and enhance his own life as well.

This film is a definite recommendation for those in search of some enjoyable, thought-provoking entertainment unrelated to sports.