“Born in China”
A look at the births, deaths, rebirths, and family units in the animals of China.
“Born in China” is directed by Chuan Lu and is the latest film in the DisneyNature documentary series. Other titles from the company include “Monkey Kingdom,” “Bears,” and of course, their original venture “Earth.” This particular installment, as one would gather from the title, focuses exclusively on the animals of China, mainly the golden snub-nose monkeys, in particular one named Tao Tao, Dawa the snow leopard and her two cubs, a herd of chiru antelope, and last but not least, a giant panda named Ya Ya and her cub Mei Mei.
Being a nature documentary, there is a vast amount of gorgeous, impeccable footage of the many Chinese landscapes where each animal resides, photographed and videoed from spring through winter and back to spring again the next season. In addition, there are extraordinarily beautiful shots of the aforementioned animals and the surrounding critters they encounter as their friends and foes. To go along with this majestic view of the natural world is a tenderhearted narration from John Krasinski. This narration assigns some anthropomorphic qualities to each of the animals, as well as a bit of an inner monologue, kind of like what we do with our dogs on a daily basis. One of the biggest downfalls of this type of narration is that it’s not very informative. Most nature documentaries serve to provide facts about the situations and beings shown on screen. “Born in China,” however, is much more interested in creating a narrative around the family dynamics of each species to keep every potential age group entertained at the cinema from start to finish. Krasinski has a good vocal cadence, but this particular documentary is clearly geared more towards the kids in the crowd than the adults.
Of course, we can’t help but squeal at all of the baby animals shown being born and as they learn their way around each of their respective environments in different seasons. How can you not find pure joy in a little baby panda rolling down a hill covered in leaves? If you don’t take pleasure in this, you’re probably a heartless bastard, sorry about it. We learn a little bit about each familial herd, their habits, and the constructed story Disney has set in place for these creatures. We see monkeys flip about; chiru antelope bound around on their new found legs and become reunited with one another after several seasons away, and watch as snow leopards try to pounce on their prey.
It’s really fun to watch these types of films, but they are getting really, really geared towards kids the longer they go on. Still, one cannot deny the incredible visual spectacle each of these DisneyNature documentaries beholds as they get better looking with each passing film. If you have been a fan of these documentaries in the past, chances are, you will enjoy “Born in China” as well.
Our rating: 3.5/5
“Born in China” is directed by Chuan Lu. It is rated G, but does contain some thematic elements involving animals hunting for prey.
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