We are a family of animal lovers. Q, especially, is fascinated with them, and has decided that he wants to be a zoologist who works out in the wild with animals when he is a grown-up. I think that it is a very noble occupation, and if we want to have lots of different animals around for our children’s grandchildren, we need to become more passionate about and committed to saving these animals. We need to give our kids opportunities to relate to animals, to see how actions and consequences work in the wild, and see that they are not the only creatures on earth with feelings, personalities and humour. We need to find new and creative ways to connect kids with things they may not otherwise have an opportunity to see or experience and cement the important roles that these creatures have in the world that we live in. This is where the Disneynature films come in.
We have always bonded over watching the Disneynature wildlife movies together. They are a great opportunity to discuss nature, life cycles and just general conservation of animals. As soon as we saw the first previews for “Born in China”, Q and I leaned over to each other and said ” we have to see that!”
About the film
Narrated by John Krasinski (“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” NBC’s “The Office,” “Amazon’s “Jack Ryan”), Disneynature’s new True Life Adventure film “Born in China” takes audiences on an epic and exciting journey into the wilds of China where few people have ever ventured. “The film shows an authentic side of nature in China that global audiences haven’t seen before,” says director Lu Chuan. “These animals are metaphors. They give birth, like we do. They do their best to raise their cubs, like we do. They succeed and they fail. Their drive to do what is best for their families resonates with all of us.”
Following the stories of three animal families, the film transports audiences to some of the world’s most extreme environments to witness wildly intimate moments in the lives of these animals, whose day-to-day endeavors are both cap va ng and comical. A doting panda bear mother guides her growing baby as she begins to explore and seek independence. A 2-year-old golden snub-nosed monkey, who feels displaced by his new baby sister, joins up with a group of free-spirited outcasts. And a mother snow leopard—an elusive animal rarely seen by human eyes—faces the very real drama of raising her two cubs in one of the harshest and most unforgiving environments on Earth.
We were fortunate enough to be invited by our friends at Walt Disney Pictures Canada to see “Born in China” a few days before it opened, and let me tell you. It was spectacular. I saw the movie with my mom and Q, and I honestly think that each of us was able to take something different away from it.
What did we think?
Q said the movie was “very, very good and was helpful for learning about nature and science.” He thought it was interesting and funny, but sad too. His favourite part was “when the snow leopard successfully hunted a prey”. The snow leopard Dawa was his favourite character. He liked that she was very protective of her babies and would do anything for them. Seeing the movie just makes him wanted to be a wildlife biologist or zoologist even more.
My Mom thought the movie was good and educational. She found it really interesting to see how animals acted in the wild, and in their own environment. She thought the photography and videography were amazing and marveled at how long it would have taken, how many hours of footage, and how much editing, would have had to be shot to get what would eventually become an hour and a half long movie. Mom’s favourite character was Mei Mei, the baby panda because “she was just so darn cute and clumsy!”. She remarked about how well it depicted the circle of life as it happens.
I loved how the movie tied-in some Chinese mythology and symbolism when it came to the animals. For example, while watching large, majestic, and often depicted in art, crabes flying through the skies, we learn that they are widely believed to carry the souls of the recently departed from Earth, and that monkeys are often symbolize mischief. Having studied a bit of primatology while at university, I found the behaviours of the snub-nosed monkeys to be rather fascinating. I also loved and marveled at seeing just how like human kids the young ones, of all the animal families portrayed behave. The underlying theme of sacrifice for one’s family by all of the animal mothers is one that I’m sure all the parents watching will be able to relate to, as well as the feeling that childhood is so fleeting and the deep-seated desire to protect and really just hold on to your kids that we all have.
I think that being able to really understand more about these endangered animals is what’s going to get people passionate and excited about ensuring that they are around for many more generations to come. One thing I really love about the Disneynature movies is how the filmmakers really let the animals personalities shine through, and the feeling that you are there, experiencing life with them, that you get when watching the movie. Some of these animals live in remote places that most of us will never have the privilege of seeing in person, so I, for one, am thankful that we can have these glimpses into their lives, no matter how small.
In our opinions, “Born in China” is a fantastic movie for kids of all ages to watch. It is filled with moments that will make you giggle out loud, and ones you will talk about well after the film has ended. Given that it is a nature movie, it does deal with all aspects of the life cycle, from birth to death, and a few moments may upset or frighten very young or sensitive kids, but they are few and far between, and would be, in my opinion, a fantastic jumping off point for talking about these bigger issues in a very relatable and understandable way.
As an added bonus, moviegoers who see Disneynature’s “Born in China” during its opening week (April 21-27, 2017) will benefit the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Based on opening-week attendance, Disneynature, via the Disney Worldwide Conserva on Fund, will make a contribution to the WWF to help protect wild pandas and snow leopards. This, to me, is a win-win.
When you do see the movie, be sure to stay for the credits. There is some really cool ( and hilarious) behind-the-sceens footage that you will definitely want to see. I have a feeling that we will be seeing “Born in China” again, and that, like the Disneynature films of past years, will become something we continue to talk about, referencing it months, and even years, later.
We were invited to view “Born in China” at an advanced screening, however, all thoughts and opinions on the movie are ours. As always, I share this because I believe that it will be of interest to you, and truly loved it.