The Aisle Seat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
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THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


IMAX: Born to Be Wild

IMAX: Born to Be Wild carries on the proud tradition of nature documentaries shot in the large-screen format. It arrives in a Blu-Ray/DVD/UltraViolet combo pack on April 17. Even if you don't have a three-story screen in your home, the film still works marvelously.

Morgan Freeman narrates (well, of course he does!) this look at the work of two important people. Dr. Birute Mary Galdikas is a primatologist who works in the rainforests of Borneo, caring for orphaned, infant orangutans; she and her team teach them the skills they will need to survive after being re-released into the wilderness. Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick does a similar thing in the Kenyan savannah, rescuing and rehabilitating elephants whose mothers have been killed by poachers. The film gives us glimpses of both women on the job, allowing us to see the intense dedication they have for the animals, as well as the innovative training techniques they use.

As much as you will appreciate these women and the work they do, the real stars of Born to Be Wild are the orangutans and the elephants. Director David Lickley gives us plenty of opportunities to see them in close-up. It's quite a sight to watch elephants feeding themselves with oversized baby bottles or playing soccer. The IMAX cameras provide a lot of high definition, so as we observe the orangutans climbing trees and vines, it almost gives the sensation that it's happening right in front of you. (Definitely watch this movie on an HDTV.) At the end, the two doctors take their respective patients to be set free, now ready for life in the wild. Watching the process from start to finish is incredibly moving.

I suppose the criticism some might level at Born to Be Wild is that, at an IMAX-appropriate length of 41 minutes, the documentary is not particularly deep. While that is true, I don't think these films are intended to go too in-depth. Their function is to allow us the opportunity to see – and learn a little about – their subjects. As the end credits rolled, I had more understanding of what people are doing to protect wildlife, and I'd gotten to observe some truly remarkable creatures. That, for me, is plenty to give the film an enthusiastic recommendation.

( 1/2 out of four)

Blu-Ray Features:

Born to Be Wild will be released in a Blu-Ray/DVD/UltraViolet combo pack on April 17. A 3D version of the same combo pack is also available. The film will additionally be available for digital download via iTunes, Xbox, PlayStation, Amazon, and other outlets.

The special features are a series of six “webisodes” that take you behind the scenes of the production and show how the breathtaking footage was captured. Picture and sound quality on the disc are outstanding.

IMAX: Born to Be Wild is rated G. The running time is 41 minutes.

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