As movie pitches go, “a 500-pound black bear going on a murderous rampage after unintentionally ingesting cocaine” takes some beating. It’s even wilder when you consider it’s a true story & it’s filmed in Ireland! In honour of its release, we look at some other memorable movie bears…
The Grizzly Mama
(The Revenant, 2015)
You know the one who beats the DiCraprio out of Leo in order to protect her cubs? The mauling scene became the dominant focal point of all the advertising around the movie. Indeed, the extent to which Leo “suffered” in the scene was considered a pivotal step in him winning his overdue Best Actor Oscar. Luckily for Grizzly Mama, bears are not believed to live beyond 25 years of age, so she was Leo’s perfect leading lady.
Bad Bear rating:
A Hardy 10/10
Kodiak (The Edge, 1997)
It takes some bear to go up against Hannibal Lector & erm, Alec Baldwin, but that’s what ursine Hollywood pro Bart the Bear does in 90s wilderness romp ‘The Edge’. Bart who previously starred in ‘Legends of the Fall’ & ’12 Monkeys’ plays Kodiak, an Alaskan brown bear who menaces Hopkins, & Baldwin when their plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness.
Bad Bear rating:
A chilly 10/10
Ted (Ted, 2012)
The first walking, talking teddy bear on the list, Ted (voiced by writer-director Seth MacFarlane) is a crude, sweary drunk who is a lifelong bad influence on his human owner John (Mark Wahlberg). Their bear-omance is tested over the course of two movies by forces as varied as girlfriends, stalkers and, erm, finding a sperm donor.
Bad Bear rating: Ted wouldn’t say ‘no’ to anything offered to him : 15/10.
(Toy Story 3, 2010)
Lotso (that’s ‘Lots-O-Huggin’ to you, mind) initially seems like the benevolent toy leader at Sunnyside Daycare, at which Woody & Buzz find themselves deposited. In truth, he runs the place like a prison, and goes to extreme lengths to prevent the gang from escaping. Voiced by the great Ned Beatty (who died in 2021), Lotso is one of the best villains in Pixar’s canon.
Bad Bear rating: He’s in total control : 2/10
The Bear, (Furry Vengeance 2010)
When Brendan Fraser recently won an acting prize at the Critics Choice Awards, he joked during his speech: “Where were you for Furry Vengeance?” Where indeed, Brendan. In this, he plays a real estate developer who draws the wrath of local animals when he tries to turn a forest into a residential site. Key among the attacking critters is a bear who traps Fraser inside a tipped-over portaloo, a plotline that Fraser now says made him rethink his whole career as an actor. Talk about impact.
Bad Bear rating : This bear runs on pure environmental rage : 2/10
Baloo (The Jungle Book, 1967/2016)
In Disney’s animated Jungle Book, Baloo is a total sweetheart. Gentle, loving, good-humoured, chilled, partial to some jazzy beats, totally body confident, he gets a belter of a song for the ages in ‘The Bare Necessities’. A perfect movie bear, no notes. The 2016 live action version is hands-down the best one of Disney’s remakes, and it even gives us Bill Murray as Baloo. Billoo Murray, if you will.
Bad Bear rating: He’s all about the chilled vibes : 0/10
Paddington Bear (Paddington 2014)
We’ll try to remain objective, dispassionate & professional here, but Paddington is the greatest bear in the history of the universe, and anyone who says a wrong word against him will feel our wrath with the blazing intensity of a thousand suns…sorry, where were we? Ah yes, Paddington. He is a gentleman, a sweet angel who literally makes everyone’s lives better just by opening his perfect Ben Whishaw-shaped snout. Both movies are absolutely perfect, of course, but, for our money, 2017’s sequel shades it.
Bad Bear rating: How dare you! Our sweet bear prince would never : 0/10
Marmaladed-out rating :10/10
Words: Declan Cashin