A Handsome but Cursory Portrait of Animal Rescue in Born to Be Wild 3D


Born to Be Wild 3D
Directed by David Lickley
Warner Bros.
Opens April 8

Gigantic form, diminutive content: Born to Be Wild 3D, presented in expansive IMAX, offers a visually arresting, kid-friendly, but cursory portrait of the altruistic efforts of two women not only to rescue orphaned baby animals but to then raise and ultimately release them back into their natural habitats. Narrated with stock stateliness by Morgan Freeman, David Lickley’s reverential documentary splits its focus between Kenya’s Dr. Daphne Sheldrick, who has spent her life caring for the country’s orphan elephants, and Borneo’s world-renowned primatologist Dr. Biruté Galdikas, a career Mother Teresa to the island’s stray orangutan tykes. Lickley’s vistas of the African plains and Southeast Asian jungles exhibit a regal grandeur, and his up-close snapshots of his mammal subjects, though often staged for maximum cuteness, exude an endearing intimacy. Clocking in at only 40 minutes, however, the film has no time to thoroughly explore the issues at the heart of its bifurcated tale, consequently delivering only a meager collection of adorable imagery and sentimental messages about love, selflessness, surrogate parent–child bonds, and the similarities between humans and beasts. If not for its outsize IMAX presentation, this handsome nonfiction film would be little more than an uplifting episode of PBS’s Nature.

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Shahaed Hasan
Shahaed Hasan

So we should extend it to an hour and a half, to two hours? Why? So you can see the life of every elephant and how they are brought up and poached? You have no sense of cinema, do you?


Nick - I think you missed the mark by not realizing the important decision the filmmakers made in making this important film. They wanted this to be for everyone, including as young as 5. No one at the two screenings I attended felt short changed, especially those with young children, who now know about an important issue that plagues our world today. Seeing the hundreds of films that I do with my work I am often frustrated with filmmakers not thinking through who their audience is. So.... praise to those who made the film and my hope is that next time you will look at the intention of the filmmaker. Jeff Sparks, President/CEO, Heartland Truly Moving Pictures.


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