Born to Be Wild 3D is the latest IMAX 3D film devoted to the natural world… and in this case it focuses in on two amazing women and their life’s work. Narrated by the voice of God himself, Morgan Freeman, this film moves between Kenya and Dr. Daphne Sheldrick and her work in rehabilitating baby elephants whose mothers have been poached and Dr. Birute Galdikas in Indonesia who is rehabilitating orphaned orangutans.
If that sounds formulated to pull at your heartstrings… you would be correct. Although, instead of coming off as treacly and precious, it has much more of a Mutual of Omaha’s Animal Kingdom feel to it. More scientific and standoffish than I would have expected, and fortunately for those of us with small children, they keep death to an abstract thought as opposed to “here is the circle of life kids… deal with it!”
I was completely unfamiliar with Dr. Sheldrick’s work with elephants, and apparently she has been doing this for decades. She took over 25 years developing the proper milk formula to nourish these young and frightened orphans. Together with her great team, they prepare these magnificent creatures to eventually return to the wild and by the end of the very short 40 minute film, we get to see how that reintroduction goes.
Contrary to Dr. Sheldrick, I am in fact very aware of Dr. Galdikas. She was one of Louis Leakey’s three ape women… Jane Goodall for chimpanzees, Dian Fossey had her Gorillas (Gorillas in the Mist) and least known was Birute Galdikas and her orangutans in Indonesia. For almost 40 years, Birute has saved countless apes from death from being orphaned or simply habitat loss. For these beautiful animals, habitat destruction may be it’s worst enemy, but Birute still manages to rehabilitate and eventually release them into what little bit of wild exists. The film highlights the fact that she is now spending time with the kids and grandkids of apes she helped more than 30 years ago. Awesome.
Visually, the 3D and IMAX experience is incredible. There are a few moments early on involving some water that I found stunning… and as the film progresses, the immersion into these worlds is complete. I am not sure whether or not this was filmed in 3D or if it was later converted… I’m suspecting a conversion since I’m not sure if a 3D IMAX camera exists. If it is a conversion, they did a great job.
As I mentioned… the film is 40 minutes… it’s not a real investment of time… but it is a wonderful way to spend a short time with some loved ones and to delve into the natural world in a way that is much cheaper than airfare. There were moments I wanted to take a cue from my kids and actually reach out and try to grab something… and it’s that suspension of reason that makes it that much more enjoyable. You too will want to swim with apes.
Born to be civilized,
Cornelius J. Blahg