Friday, April 21, 2017

Disneynature's Born In China. In Theatres Now! #BornInChina

Disneynature's "Born In China" opens in theatres today, just in time for Earth Day (April 22). Boo and I attended the Toronto pre-screening Wednesday night to get a sneak peek, so I could let you know what we thought. I don't think you'll be surprised to hear that we really enjoyed the film and recommend any nature or animal lovers go see it!

The film follows the stories of three main animal families - a very protective Giant Panda mom and her baby girl, a struggling Snow Leopard mom and her son and daughter, and a young Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey feeling left out by his family after the birth of his baby sister. Red Cranes and Chiru (a type of antelope) round out the stories. I would also say the incredible and varied landscapes of China play a key character role. The film is visually stunning.

Mountains, forests, deserts, snow, ice, sun, water. Born In China has it all.
Watching these animal families in their daily lives is both educational and entertaining. I couldn't help but think of my momma cat grooming her baby as the momma leopard groomed hers. Domestic cats really still have a lot in common with their wild cousins. And seeing the panda nursing her baby? So much like a human mother and child. It was so familiar and, I believe, encourages the viewers to connect emotionally with nature. That's a great message for Earth Day.

“The film explores the circle of life in a very emotional and uplifting way,” says producer Roy Conli. “Each story depicts a reality of life that is somehow reflective of our own human experience. It’s compelling to see how animals share certain values that we hold dear.” I read this quote after I saw the film, and it really sums up the feeling I had throughout.

However, I did feel at some points that the narration overly anthropomorphised the animals, but it wasn't overdone in general. This was not my favourite narrator of the Disneynature films, but that did not stop me from loving the film.

How sweet is this baby?
As the producer indicates in that quote, this is a circle of life film. Do I need to expand? Not everything is fun and games and cuteness. There is a death that may be upsetting to particularly sensitive kids (or adults - me), although it is handled well, not dwelled on, and the narration immediately goes in to a circle of life discussion. The radio station CHFI was one of the presenters of the screening, and they had people there interviewing the audience on their reactions to the film. I did approach them at the end of the night to ask about the death scene, and they reported that no one expressed concern, just commenting it was sad.

A final note - be sure to stay for the first part of the credits, as they come with a ton of vignettes from the filmmakers and extra shots of animal families.

The monkeys apparently loved the cameras!

Disclosure: I received media access to a pre-screening of this movie for review purposes. No financial compensation was received. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own, or those of my family.

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