Thursday, May 24, 2007

Grizzly Man is George Bush

Finally watched Grizzly Man, the Werner Herzog docu/film depicting the life of Timothy Treadwell. Well, that is to say I watched what I could--long descriptions of body parts didn't seem that interesting, and it was painful to watch someone as delusional as Treadwell, who, like the McCandless we encounter in Jon Krakaeur's Into the Wild walks blindly into the wild, believing themselves to have a kind of moral goodness, and no exit-strategy. Perhaps that's why Treadwell kept reminding me of George Bush? "Hey, you're alright little buddy, I'm here to protect you. You're such a star, I love you..." Yikes. Treadwell delivers, as one reviewer points out, with a dead-pan Christopher Guest dryness, line after line like that, and often more than one version as Herzog allows the viewer to watch Treadwell at work, rehearsing and sometimes being surprised by events around him.

The Guardian posted a glowing, though tongue-in-cheek review of this tragicomedy, and yes, that seems right. Treadwell aside, what bothered me the most was watching the animals starve as their natural food sources diminish. Looking into the eyes of a starving grizzly, seeing the grizzly diving for "the last salmon carcass," you'd think Treadwell would have realized that he might be next... But like everyone else caught in the web of economic exchange, Treadwell just kept filming.

As for Herzog's attraction to the story? I'm not sure what he was after. Treadwell's footage is disturbing, and it makes me think more than ever, these regions need to ban people all together. I don't want to watch webcams of grizzly bears mating, or feeding, I want them to be left alone.