Saturday, September 7, 2013

#1,118. Born to be Wild (2011)

Directed By: David Lickley

Starring: Birute Galdikas, Daphne Sheldrick, Morgan Freeman

Tag line: "Born to be loved. Born to be free"

Trivia: In March 2012, this film won the Genesis Award for Best Documentary Feature from The Humane Society of the United States

This story is like a fairy tale, except it’s entirely true”.

So says narrator Morgan Freeman at the beginning of Born to be Wild, a 2011 nature documentary originally presented in the IMAX format. During the movie, we’re introduced to two women, both of whom have dedicated the better part of their lives to caring for animals in need. Daphne Sheldrick runs a sanctuary in Kenya for baby elephants whose mothers were killed for their ivory, while Birutė Galdikas is caretaker of a reserve in Borneo catering to young orangutans, left orphaned by the island's deforestation. Though thousands of miles from one another, these two remarkable women share a special bond, and, over the years, have rescued hundreds of baby animals that, without their help, would surely have died.

Morgan Freeman, who’s narrated such documentaries as March of the Penguins and Where the Water Meets the Sky, is, in my opinion, the U.S. equivalent of Britain’s David Attenborough, the voice behind such extraordinary BBC-produced nature series as Planet Earth, Life, and Human Planet [if you’ve never seen any of these, you’re missing something very special]. His always-smooth delivery in Born to be Wild is a definite plus, but its the crisp, stunning cinematography of David Douglas that truly steals the show. Shot on location in Nairobi and Borneo, Douglas brings us up close and personal with both the orangutans and the elephants, while at the same time capturing the awesome landscape of their spacious sanctuaries in breathtaking detail.

Nothing in Born to be Wild is too disturbing for kids, who’ll undoubtedly like watching young elephants kick a soccer ball around, or orangutans swinging from ropes in a makeshift jungle gym. But the movie has plenty to offer older viewers as well, who will be blown away by the film’s magnificent imagery. Running at just about 40 minutes, Born to be Wild is a family film that every member of the family can enjoy.

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