My opinion, to be as straight-forward and honest as I know how, is that Timothy Treadwell did everything wrong. As altruistic as he was in the beginning, his time spent with these bears led him to lose his sense of reality, and he wanted to become a bear.
His death, and that of his girlfriend, is tragic and there is no doubt about that. However, when studying animals in the wild (especially predatory animals), there is a line that you should never cross. One thing that Treadwell failed to remember is that animals do not value life, and they had no idea he was there trying to protect them from poachers.
For the most part, he positioned himself to be successful. He made sure that he was in Alaska at specific times when he knew the bears would be most docile. He did his best not to interfere with the animals around him. That all changed when he decided he wanted to be one of them, and over the course of the final few summers he spent up there, he went from the casual observer to wanting to play a role in the lives of the animals around him. I think this was a natural progression, but it drove him to lose his sense of what was real.
It is being debated whether or not Treadwell wanted his tragic end to happen. And I’m of the opinion that he definitely did want to die and the hands of the bears. I do not believe he wanted to put his girlfriend in danger, and that he did want her to get away (based on the transcripts I’ve read of the last 6 minutes of audio of his life). However, as with most tragedies things did not go as he planned.
I think this was a great documentary in that it will help to educate those that would like to study wild animals in the wild, to not let it get ahold of them and lose that sense of reality that these animals are wild. Perhaps his greatest contribution to our World is not his “research” of the Grizzly Bear, but his example that he’s laid that will hopefully save a great number of lives in the future.