DisneyNature’s Born in China review
Every year or so, DisneyNature releases its latest documentary for Earth Day. This year, it’s Born in China. These nature documentaries are wonderful for a variety of reasons: the photography is spectacular, the wildlife featured is fascinating, and the movies are rated G. It’s rare to find anything for young children at the movies, and even more rare to find something that’s educational and riveting to watch for the whole family.
We look forward to these movies with great anticipation, partly because we know how very difficult it is for the cinematographers to capture the exquisite, close-range photography of wildlife including grizzlies (in Bears), pollinators (in Wings of Life), and now the majestic creatures of China. Even better, a part of the proceeds benefits conservation organizations.
DOWNLOAD THE “BORN IN CHINA” EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITY PACK HERE (FREE).
The scenery in Born in China is spectacular. We soar from the mountains of the remote Qinghai Province, where the snow leopards struggle to survive, to the bamboo forests of the Wolong Nature Reserve for pandas. We follow the stories of a variety of creatures in their circle of life: snow leopards, golden monkeys, giant pandas, cranes, and antelopes. Their unfolding stories through the passing seasons truly give us a sense of the challenges these animals face in bringing new life into the world and nurturing their young. Some of the moments are awe inspiring (the snow leopard’s grace captured in the frozen landscape), while others are touching (the panda mother nuzzling her newborn).
A caveat here that Born in China shows much more of the circle of life than the previous DisneyNature films. One of the main “characters” that we follow dies (not the panda). Previously, the death of a featured animal has not been shown in a DisneyNature documentary, and this could be particularly upsetting to younger viewers. The predators’ prey is shown at meal time, not in graphic detail, but the scene may also be disturbing for small children.
I missed the intimacy of the journeys taken by the animals in previous DisneyNature films. By including so many different species in Born in China, we aren’t able to bond with the “characters,” the animals featured, in quite the same way. Nevertheless, for children age 7 and older, Born in China is an excellent choice for Earth Day and beyond.