Growing up, the Wonderful World of Disney filled my TV set every week. Some weeks, it would be a classic Disney film like “Herbie”, but most times, it would be films about nature and the world around us. In essence what was once a short view every so often on TV, now has become a film series dubbed “Disney Nature”, now premiering their 7th wildlife documentary called “Born In China.” Born In China follows three animal family groups: snow leopards, and golden snub-nosed monkeys, and gives a peek into how they live in the various (gorgeous) regions of China. Set to a narration provided by John Krasinki, director Lu Chuan introduces viewers into a world we don’t really see with a tone that children are not only entranced by, but leave yearning to learn more about.
We meet mama panda, Ya Ya and her cub, Mei Mei, as Ya Ya tries to keep her cub safe as she wanders off, to explore, climb trees and other things that give any mom (including pandas) anxiety. In a way, it makes you connect with the animal by thinking- they care for their young, just like us, and you become emotionally invested (or at least, my daughter and I did).
Next we meet Tao Tao, a snub-nosed monkey who experiences sibling jealousy, and eventually joins an all-male “family” unit which the film calls “The Lost Boys.” When things go awry, Tao Tao tries to rejoin his family.
Lastly, the film introduces the snow leopard they named “Dawa”, a rarely encountered female snow leopard who is raising her cubs in the highlands of the Tibetan Plateau. She must defend her territory from other leopards so that she can hunt and feed her cubs.
Each animal family has a story, and each pulls at your heartstrings, especially if you’re an animal lover like we are (we have a dog, a turtle and three cats…so, yea). Through “Born in China” we get to meet and experience a little in the daily lives of some of the rarest creatures on earth. While the film doesn’t delve *too* deep into the hows and whys of each animal, they do clear a path for kids and families to get interested and get involved, which I think is fantastic. If we don’t see it, we don’t care for it… that’s human nature, but you can be assured that walking out of seeing Born in China you will be enamored by the stunning visuals the Chinese landscape has to offer and you will care about these animals, the earth that inhabits them, and what you can do to help protect the environment we all so desperately need.
Born In China opens in theaters April 21st, 2017.