‘Born To Be Wild’ Heartwarming to the End

Morgan Freeman has a way with words. Not only is the guy an incredible actor, but his skills in the narrative department also excel. I would be hard-pressed to name an actor or narrator who does a better job at guiding a documentary than he. Putting his vocal talents to use once more, this time in the educational IMAX film, Born To Be Wild.  Bring the whole family for this wonderful documentary that kids and adults will equally enjoy.

Fellow WSB writer Aaron Neuwirth described this film as, “…incredibly simplistic, but effective in what it tries to show in such a short span of time.”  This is indeed true, but I want to curtail any negative thoughts about the simplistic part.  Sometimes, a lack of complexity makes a film all that much easier to connect with, and such is the case with Born To Be Wild.  It follows two incredible women in two very different parts of the world.  First is Daphne Sheldrick who was born in Kenya and resides there today, taking care of orphaned elephants.  While the film manages to steer clear of any hard results of ivory poachers, it does show another side effect; the baby calf roaming aimlessly without its mother around to care for it any longer.  Sheldrick and her very dedicated crew round up any such lost babies and bring them to a place where they are cared for by the minute; so much that the individual caretakers will keep the baby elephants company in their hay-covered pens overnight.

A similar tale is of Birute Galdikas of Indonesia whose care for the animal kingdom runs just as strong, most specifically in the area of our primate cousins, the orangutan.  Due to continued deforestation of Asian rain forests, the place orangutans call home shrinks considerably each day.  It would be like someone removing a room from your home each week until you had nothing left but the uninhabitable driveway.  Walking with her bronze-furred friends, Galdikas and crew nurture the human-like animals in a loving environment while maintaining the wildness of the species.  Though Daphne Sheldrick and Birute Galdikas have never met, the women utilize the same loving attitude for their animal brethren.  The expressions and behaviors of both the elephants and orangutans is absolutely beautiful, magnified ten-fold when they’re seen interacting with people.  From bottle-fed babies to young offspring capable of finding their own food, both species are eventually turned loose in the wild to be with their own kind and live the wilderness-based lives they need to.

Many theaters are offering this film in 3D, however, I saw it in 2D but at an OMNIMAX theater.  For those not familiar, an OMNIMAX screen encompasses a much larger area than your typical cinema screen.  Not only that, but you’ll find an all-encompassing visual experience as that screen goes from floor to ceiling and curves around the walls.  The result is a sense of motion for the viewer at times, making you feel like you’re moving with the cameras or even as if your there in the on-screen environment.  As with most OMNIMAX films, they usually run in the 40-50 minute range and Born To Be Wild is no exception clocking in at 40 minutes.  While this does limit content, it opens up a door for the masses those not particularly fond of documentaries as well as school kids whose attention span is hard to hold.  With a film under an hour, you not only wrap things up before they get bored, but you also get the film’s message across to them in a timely fashion.

I left the state-of-the-art movie screen the same way as when I came in…with a smile.  Morgan Freeman’s voice guides viewers through the African and Asian landscapes, whose tone has an impressive effect of keeping people’s senses affixed to the film.  The animals featured in Born To Be Wild are wondrous creatures who display, dare I say it, levels of adorability that are off the charts.  In the end though, it’s important to maintain the importance that beauty aside, it is not natural for these animals to be kept forever.  Seeing them released back into the wild may offer a level of sadness to some, but is wonderfully captured here as we witness them reuniting with their own kind, in a life that was truly born to be wild.


5 Responses to “‘Born To Be Wild’ Heartwarming to the End”

  1. Brian White

    Good review Gregg.

    I’m not sure how I would feel seeing these animals released back into the wild 🙁

  2. Sean Ferguson

    Nice review Gregg. I’m sure my son would love this.

  3. Aaron Neuwirth

    It’s a movie like this, which is why I don’t care for Star ratings. Yes Sean, you should take the whole family, because that is who benefits. Same as school field trips. Regardless of where I stand on its quality (which I still find to be good), seeing this on the big screen (preferably in 3D, as it works well that way) is the ideal setting.

    I’m happy that Gregg loved this film. I wasn’t as taken by it, but it does a great job at presenting something informative and enjoyable, which is good enough, as long as you don’t mind the price.

  4. Brian White

    It’s too bad it can’t be longer so you REALLY get your money’s worth!

  5. Gregg

    That’s kind of like asking for a Ferrari to not be so fast. All of these Omnimax documentaries are like this. It’s just a given. You pay for effect as opposed to quantity (of time).