Grizzly Man is a 2005 American documentary film that chronicles the life and death of environmentalist and bear enthusiast, Timothy Treadwell. Werner Herzog directed the film, and he included Treadwell's footage of his interactions with the grizzly bears in Alaska, and interviews from his family, friends and even bear or animal experts. The film focuses on Treadwell's quest to protect the grizzly bears from being hunted and killed by humans. However, it also shows that his enthusiasm in protecting the bears was not only misguided but in the long run can threaten the habitat and the peaceful co-existence that the bears and humans have enjoyed over the years. It feels like Herzog is educating the audience of the film by showing that even though people may be enthusiastic about certain things such as the grizzly bears, and devote their lives to protecting them. It is important to see the dangers that wildlife presents and people should be prepared for some form of rebellion no matter their cause. The promotional poster for this film emphasizes this message. The bear is portrayed to be in a dominant and threatening pose; it seems like it will attack. However, Treadwell appears to be totally unfazed; it is like he cannot read the signs or heed the warnings of the bear. Although to some Timothy Treadwell may have seemed like a naturalist and protector of the animal (bear) habitat, his actions were selfish and posed the threat of increasing human-wildlife conflict. The bears were protected in the national park, and there had been no record of bears being hunted at the Katmai National Park. In fact the irony of his quest was that two bears were killed because the Park Rangers suspected that they were responsible for killing and partially eating the couple.
The purpose of this documentary was to inform the viewer that wild animals are unpredictable, dangerous and when approaching them caution should be taken. Timothy Treadwell threw caution into the wind, and assumed that just because he had gone to the Katmai National Park for the past thirteen summers and lived among the bears that they had finally accepted him. However, it seems that they had tolerated him all these years, or least of all they were often perplexed by his bold actions, but on the day of his death, he pushed his luck so far, and the bear (s) attacked killed him and his girlfriend. In order to help the audience understand the message that Herzog was trying to pass, he used the emotional, logic, and ethical appeals. It was also important for him to structure the film in the way that he did so that; he could first create an emotional connection between the audience, and Treadwell. The next stage was to create his own credibility as a director, and his observations by using animal experts. Finally, the logical appeal was meant to advice the audience that Treadwell's actions were misguided and they should not be repeated in the future.
The director of the film uses two strategies in order to achieve the pathos appeal. He is determined to create the emotional connection between the audience and the main character in the film, Treadwell. The interviews from his (Treadwell) family and friends was particularly insightful in helping the viewer learn more about him and become emotionally attached to him. The interviews from his close friends show the audience that he was a passionate activist; he believed that what he did was right because; it was going to ensure that people had a deeper understanding of the grizzly bears. The second strategy that was used to create an emotional appeal was that he humanized the animals. When Treadwell interacts with the bear in the footages that he created, it is important to note that he characterized the bears as friendly, and even provided them with specific human roles such as mamma bear, baby, and names such as Wendy. By providing the bear with human qualities and names, it created an emotional appeal and it is meant to help the viewer not to view this animal as a wild creature, but as a friendly animal.
In as much as the film was meant to show Treadwell's passion in protecting the grizzly bears, it is also important to educate people of the danger these animals pose to humans. Herzogs narration on the original footage that was captured by Treadwell presents factual information in regards to the Bears. It specifies their natural living habitats and uses scientific terminology such as tagging the bears with numbers instead of providing them with human names. It creates a logic appeal, and it is meant to counter the emotional sentiments that the viewer may have developed while watching the film. The facts about the bears demonstrate that these are wild animals, and at no point in time should someone assume them to be friendly and therefore approach them. This is also reiterated by the interviews that were provided by the Park Rangers and bear experts. Another way that Herzog uses logos in this film is through the use of rhetorical questions such as; could be filming his killer.is this bear 141? The purpose of the rhetoric questions is to create a sense of doubt in the audience who are watching the film and at the same time question the actions of Treadwell. It will make the audience feel that he was misguided, and even trying too much to make his films more appealing, instead of focusing on educating people more about the bears. For instance, when he is playing with bear cubs, or when he is filming two adult bears fighting for mating rights. Such actions are dangerous mainly because of the position he was putting himself in. It is a known fact that most animals attack humans because they feel that the people pose a threat to their young ones.
The ethical appeal in this film was achieved through the interviews of the Park rangers and bear experts. They have more knowledge about the bears and therefore are in a better position to critic Treadwells actions. Some of the experts felt that his actions may have hurt the conservancy program of these bears. Park rangers believe that his interactions with the bears may in future lead to an increase in human-bear conflict. He made bears more accustomed to humans, and this can be potentially dangerous for both the humans and the bears. The reason for this is that the bears may begin to be comfortable looking for food in human settlements, and it will force people to kill them because they are trespassing, an action that Treadwell repeated for 13 summers when he lived among the bears.
In conclusion, Herzog begins by showing Treadwell's passion for the bears and how he interacted with them by showing the various footages that he recorded over a period of 13 years. However, he uses the logos and ethos appeal to talk about the Bears, the dangers they pose and how Treadwell risked his life for 13 years before a bear killed him. Although a person may feel that he or she is passionate about a certain thing, it does not mean that he or she should approach the issue with reckless abandon. Wild animals are dangerous and unpredictable, and caution should be taken when dealing or approaching them.
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