Parents' Guide to

Great Bear Rainforest: Land of the Spirit Bear

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 5+

Immersive nature docu offers scenic awe and animal awwws.

Movie NR 2019 42 minutes
Great Bear Rainforest: Land of the Spirit Bear Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 5+

Based on 1 parent review

age 5+

A white Black Bear.

A minimum effort and a bit miss-leading. The province of British Columbia, Canada is blessed with thousands of spectacular views and yes, all areas of the province have Black Bear and different colour phases of the same. The film suggests there is something unique about the area, that suggestion would only be true if the film recognized the uniqueness of the entire province.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (1):

With its wondrous IMAX cinematography, this film captures the beauty and texture of nature in a way that could be a more visceral, enthralling experience than actually being there. Viewers soar over the treetops and coastline one moment, almost feeling the brisk wind and sea spray; the next, they're cozied up next to a sleeping, rapidly breathing cream-colored spirit bear, feeling sheer astonishment that such a thing actually exists. Since director Ian McAllister is the first person to capture the elusive spirit bear on screen, "Mox" gets extra attention, but she's just one particularly fascinating cog in the wheel of the rainforest ecosystem captured in Great Bear Rainforest: Land of the Spirit Bear. Mostly, the docu offers snippets of the lives of birds, marine life, and wildlife, putting the pieces together to show how all of the life supported by the rainforest is interdependent, including the native tribespeople who also reside there.

Bioscience isn't always the most exciting subject matter for kids, but McAllister keeps young viewers on the hook by weaving in interviews with the new generation of the First Nations tribe: a 12-year-old who observes bears up close, a 15-year-old who uses DNA collection to learn more about forest animals, and a 25-year-old fisherman who uses sustainable fishing practices. It's all very informative, but it's hard not to wish that Reynolds' trademark sarcasm would make a more frequent appearance -- it's all a little dry. The real letdown, though, is that the film ends with the declaration that "everyone -- everyone! -- has to pull together" to preserve the rainforest, but it doesn't explain how the audience is supposed to do that.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate