Born to Be Wild Review
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A couple of years ago, a baby elephant was born at our local zoo. For months, people flocked to the zoo and waited in long lines, just for the chance to see the little guy from a glassed-in viewing area. And, really, it’s no wonder that people line up to see the baby animals at the zoo—because they’re absolutely adorable. They’re playful and loving, and they often have personalities that remind us of our own human babies. It’s true for the baby animals at the zoo—and it’s also true for the baby animals that you’ll find on the big screen in the 3D IMAX documentary Born to Be Wild.

Born to Be Wild follows two women who’ve dedicated their lives to raising orphaned baby animals before releasing them back into the wild.

In Kenya, it’s Daphne Sheldrick, who’s spent the last 50 years rescuing more than 200 baby elephants and raising them in her nursery outside Nairobi. In Borneo, it’s Birute Galdikas, who’s dedicated her life to working with the baby orangutans who have been left orphaned by the constant depletion of the rainforests.

Both women work with teams of keepers to nurture and care for these baby animals, while also giving them as natural an environment as possible, so they’ll eventually be able to live normal adult lives in the wild.

This short IMAX documentary gives audiences an up-close and personal look at these adorable orphans’ lives in the care of two remarkable women. You’ll quickly fall in love with the animals, with their almost human personalities—and you’ll even relate to their vulnerabilities. You’ll laugh as they play with their keepers and their fellow orphans. And you might even get a little bit teary-eyed as the keepers release some of their “graduates” back into the wild.

Although there’s an underlying message of conservation and animal protection (which somehow seems less preachy when narrated by the warm, soothing voice of Morgan Freeman), it’s overshadowed by the touching stories of friendship between keeper and animal—and, of course, the stunning 3D footage of jungles, rivers, and soccer-playing elephants.

At just 40 minutes long, Born to Be Wild is much shorter than the typical feature film—but it’s just the right length. It manages to tell its story and include plenty of entertaining animal antics without overstaying its welcome and going on a little too long (as nature docs often do). And that makes it perfect for little people with short attention spans.

Playful and heart-warming, Born to Be Wild makes you feel like you’re right there, playing with the animals. It’s as fun as a visit to your favorite animals at the zoo, yet it sometimes feels even more real (so real, in fact, that you might find yourself swatting at the 3D flies buzzing in front of your face, as my friend Milu did). And, even at IMAX prices, it’s still a whole lot cheaper than a real African safari.

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