Born in China Review
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Each year, Disneynature introduces audiences to other creatures who share our planet. In this year’s release, Born in China, the studio’s team of tough and determined photographers travel to the plains and forests of China to examine the lives of some beautiful babies in the wild.

Born in China follows the stories of a number of animal families for a year—from one spring to the next. Though it shows five different kinds of animals, the focus is on three. On the rocky plains, a snow leopard fights to protect and care for her two cubs. A giant panda mother dotes on her daughter while preparing for a time when she’s no longer needed. And a young snub-nosed monkey deals with sibling rivalry when a new baby sister takes all of his parents’ attention.

With the release of each new Disneynature release, audiences pretty much know what to expect. The footage here is absolutely breathtaking—not just the footage of animals that are rarely filmed in the wild but also the scenery in general. The crew clearly put a remarkable amount of effort into getting just the right shot, just the right lighting, just the right details—and it shows in each scene.

The writing certainly isn’t perfect. Cranes are introduced in the beginning as one of the key stories, yet they’re barely mentioned again until the film’s conclusion—and the story of a pack of female antelopes on their annual journey to give birth lacks depth. And those two parts of the story probably could have been cut altogether. Still, there’s plenty to love here—and the remaining animals’ stories are written in a way that audiences of all ages will understand. Kids will relate to the monkey’s frustration with his sister and his need for attention. Parents will understand the snow leopard’s resolve to protect her children. And mothers may shed a tear or two as they watch the giant panda learn to let go of her growing daughter.

And, of course, through it all, there’s the kind of playfulness and sense of humor that make the whole adventure entertaining to all viewers. Each animal family has moments of humor—though the bulk of the comic relief is handled by the monkeys. And while narrator John Krasinski is generally quite reserved in his telling of the stories, he still handles those comic moments perfectly.

If your family loves visiting animals in the zoo, they’ll enjoy meeting the lovable families of Born in China. It’s a fun, informative, and family-friendly look at some beautiful creatures from the other side of the world.

Blu-ray Review:
People often overlook the special features menu on the Blu-ray release of their favorite movies—but Disneynature’s releases come with some of the best extras. The special features included on the Born in China Blu-ray release offer a behind-the-scenes look at film’s production—whether it involved living with the playful snub-nosed monkeys or venturing out to film the elusive giant pandas (just wait till you see what the camera crew had to do to get the shots!). So after you finish watching the film, be sure to check out the extras—because they’ll give you an even greater appreciation for the film.

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