Werner Herzog made this movie in order to analyze the conflict between man and nature. He intended on showing that man cannot cause nature to dance to his tune, and it is this misconception that can sometimes lead to dire consequences.
Contrary to what one might expect from the movie, Grizzly Bear is not a movie about bears, foxes or wild scenery; it is a movie about the thin line between prey and predator, or man and his environment.
The author intended on revealing how this boundary can get blurred very easily, but it must never be crossed. Treadwell often asserted that he liked it in the wild, and did not really fit in with humans. These sentiments are echoed in more than one way in the movie. He was induced into the much simpler world of the bears, and at times forgot that these were deadly creatures that could take away his life.
Herzog believed that this was Treadwell’s great oversight. To the author, man should never lose sight of his place, or else nature would turn around and bite him. In the movie, Herzog comments that Treadwell thought of the human world as a foreign thing. He then likens the glacier, tumbling ice and abysses to Treadwell’s soul. He believes that the turmoil in that landscape was synonymous with the turmoil in the lead character’s soul.
Treadwell was not able to tame these disturbances, and they eventually led to his ruin. The author wanted to contrast the illusions that were perceived by Treadwell and the reality that existed around him. The illusion was that Treadwell thought that the wild environment was a brilliant place. However, the reality (as posited by the author) was that bears were harsh, so humans could never really belong to their world because they were different.
Herzog illustrated that regardless of one’s intentions, there were lines that should never be crossed. The author sums up his beliefs and intentions towards the end of the movie when he asserts that “I discover no kinship, no understanding, and no mercy. I see only the overwhelming indifference of nature” (Herzog 92)
The author of the movie is probably addressing psycho analysts, sociologists and individuals who want to understand the human psyche. While the documentary is set in the wild, it actually focuses on human nature. Treadwell’s weaknesses were a reflection of human limitations. The author wanted to demystify the main character’s choices and preferences, but he wanted to achieve this through a respectful approach.
Herzog addresses his main concern clearly and persuasively. First, he plays by the rules of nature programming; any good nature movie ought to have plenty of wildlife, a great lead character, an endearing story and beautiful scenery to boot. These elements were carefully interwoven in the documentary.
He then offers his commentaries throughout the movie by adding little bits of facts as he goes along. For instance, at some point, he says that “Treadwell saw himself as the guardian of this land … fighting the bad guys…But all this land is a federally protected reserve.” (Herzog 8).
Such assertions were essential in advancing the plot. They informed the audience about the detachment of the lead character from reality through Herzog’s objective tone. In fact, the tone used by this author was one that gave him a vantage point because it contrasted him to Treadwell. While the narrator was calm, informative and objective, the lead character was moody, personal and delicate. This renders credibility to Herzog even as Treadwell continues to become more pitiable as the story unfolds.
The author of this narrative played the role of an analyst. He wanted to bring out the conflict between man and nature. Consequently, one can say that the story was intended for an audience with some interest in psychoanalysis. His objective and factual interludes were essential in rendering strength to his arguments.
Herzog, Werner. Grizzly man. Internet Movie Database, 12 Aug, 2005. Web. 11 Oct. 2011.