"Born to Be Wild" is one of the finest films of the year.
Anyone who ever has loved an animal in a wild environment (or, for that matter, shared a home with one) must see this extraordinary movie about animal rescue.
Children will love seeing the orangutan and elephant babies here. Adults will, too, and they're more likely to appreciate the vision of two incredible women who are determined to save these animals.
Morgan Freeman lovingly narrates this 3-D IMAX documentary (I enjoyed it at the Putnam Museum with a most appreciative audience of museum members) that's set in Borneo, where we meet the orangutans, and Kenya, where Daphne Sheldrick has established an elephant sanctuary.
Sheldrick's initiative involves a team of rescuers who find baby elephants, many of whom have lost their mothers to poachers. We see the actual rescue of a baby from a herd of bulls. The little elephant would have starved to death had Sheldrick's team not discovered and subsequently transported him to safety.
We also see the little elephant in attack mode as, terrified and hungry, it confronts the people who have placed it in this strange environment. Gradually, he warms up to his keepers and joins the herd at the sanctuary.
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In Borneo, a similar enterprise, directed by Birute Galdikas, rescues orphaned orangutans. The babies are cared for in very similar fashion to what a human baby receives - bath time and playtime are particularly enchanting to watch - all with the objective of returning the orangutans to the wild.
I don't know if there's anything more appealing than seeing baby animals eating and playing. I have to admit that I probably could watch their antics and feel perfectly entertained for 50 minutes. When you add the stories of Sheldrick and Galdikas, two strong women with a passion for preserving these incredible animals, you have a marvelous movie indeed. And what makes it all the more enjoyable is seeing all this unfold on the big IMAX screen in 3-D.
For children, this will be an enjoyable treat that shows compassion for wildlife. For grownups who are concerned about losing creatures such as the orangutans and elephants to the threats of environmental intrusion and poaching, this is a reassuring show that demonstrates how the determination and pluck of two people can result in safe harbors for endangered animals.