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Legacy Review

Born to Be Wild (2011)

We recently decided to try and start watching documentaries on Sunday mornings (mostly while Mommy and Daddy take turns catching up on sleep).

The first documentary we pulled out was Born to Be Wild, a short but historic animal documentary. At 40 minutes, it was a quick watch with a little curious 4-year-old. And I call it “historic” because it was, to my knowledge, among the first (perhaps the first) films shot natively in IMAX. Alas, we didn’t get to take advantage of the sprawling 3D of an IMAX theater, but it certainly looked beautiful and crystal clear on 42-inch 2D flatscreen.

The story covers two baby animal rescue sanctuaries — one for elephants in Kenya and one for orangutans in Thailand. We get a quick intro to each, then meet a bunch of animals at various phases of rescue and recovery in parallel at each sanctuary.

It’s possible I’m overrating this by a half star or so, but I really had a good time watching it (and am excited at the prospect of a weekly documentary tradition). I love that it wraps up before it loses steam and avoids almost all of the sins of animal documentaries that can drive me nuts (anthropomorphizing the animals; projecting too much human narrative or emotions on them; over-manipulating the emotions of the audience).

The footage is terrific, the narrative and moral are crystal clear and well-argued. Born to Be Wild a good simple watch if you love these animals and care about the people looking out for them.

Is It Good?

Good (5/8)

Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.


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