Grizzly Falls Review
NB – this review is based on the first ten chapters of the film. Once it has been watched and examined in its entirety, the review will be updated and the scores may been changed.
As a rule of thumb, films in which Bryan Brown headlines should be approached with much trepidation. Further, films of said ilk which also features child actors should be avoided at all costs. But, like all rules, there are exceptions, such as Grizzly Falls. To be honest, when I said I’d review this I was expecting a no-brain slasher flick that was made to cash in on Cheery Falls. What I got was a warm and exciting family film which is surprisingly good.
The plot involves a child who is taken on the ultimate hunting trip with his adventurer father. The aim: to capture a live grizzly bear. This however proves more difficult than expected and instead they capture the bear’s two cubs. In return she kidnaps the child. As the bear and child bond, the father searches for the boy, prepared to kill the grizzly.
I realise this sounds a little ropey, but it is done with such a feel for old-fashioned movies that it is actually very good. The performances are all solid, even if the accents are all over the place. Richard Harris in particular is a joy. In his role as narrator, he fills every line with a great sense of excitement and awe, and he is captivating.
The scenery is absolutely beautiful. From waterfalls to forests, wide open fields to huge rivers, the locations are stunning and are well served by the widescreen transfer. More impressive, however, is the bear itself. Unbelievable. The interaction between it and the human cast is astounding – I doubt a film like this had the budget to accomplish Gladiator-style effects. The kid really was acting with the bear – up close and personal.
Technically, the disc is solid. The 1.85:1 anamorphic picture is very good. There is a lot of details and the image remains sharp. Black levels are good and there was no sign of artefacting during the night scenes.
Sonically, the disc is less impressive. Presented in Dolby 2.0, the soundtrack lacks the oomph that would have made it very impressive. The opportunities are there for a very aggressive 5.1 surround track but Metrodome have no delivered. In saying that, as it stands, the dialogue is well placed and there is some good use of the rears.
All we have is the theatrical trailer. Bad show.
Grizzly Falls is a throw-back to a bygone era where adventure stories didn’t need space ships or special effects to be enjoyed. The locations and photography are superb and the film itself is much better than you would expect. Add two stars if you are under ten. All in all, a good show on a technically good if bare-bones disc.
The review is of a preview copy and as such, may not totally represent the actual DVD to be released.