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Movie Review: Born to be Wild IMAX 3D

April 8, 2011

Born to be Wild IMAX 3D – A Warner Bros. Pictures’ Release

Release Date: April 8th

Rated G

Running time: 40 minutes


David Lickley (dir.)


Drew Fellman (writer)


Mark Mothersbaugh (music)


Morgan Freeman as Narrator (voice)

Birute Galdikas as Herself

Daphne Sheldrick as Herself


Our reviews below:


Born to be Wild IMAX 3D Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

Born to be Wild (presented in IMAX 3D) starts in Kenya with Daphne Sheldrick and her team of specialists working to rehabilitate orphaned baby elephants.  The action is then moved to Borneo, where renowned primatologist Dr. Birute Galdikas has spent the last 50 years spearheading a program to help hand raise orphaned orangutans.


Canadian documentary filmmaker David Lickley directs Born to be Wild with a sure hand, and the images are always beautifully shot.  The 3D – although sometimes exaggerated – is often quite effective, with elephant trunks and swinging orangutans flying into the audience.  Morgan Freeman’s predictably strong narration adds to the peaceful tone of the film.


But as it only runs for a mere 40-minutes, the film isn’t necessarily worth the grossly inflated price of an IMAX 3D ticket.  The song choices usually fit their scenes, but seem random as a whole.  But all problems aside, Born to be Wild shares an inspiring message of conservation, while being the perfect length for kids and offering a beautiful visual experience for those of all ages.


Born to be Wild IMAX 3D Review by Erin V.

*** (out of 4)

Born To Be Wild 3D follows the stories of two very special sanctuaries – one in Kenya for elephants, and the other in Borneo for orangutans.  Both stories are beautifully shot, and have a powerful message behind them.  The 40 minute feature is never boring and is gently educational for the school-aged market – overall, I liked this one.  There is no doubt we care about these animals as we see them on-screen and respect what these sanctuaries are doing for them.


As I said, this is the kind of film that will be a popular choice in the schools (possibly once on DVD).  But it’s just opening in theatres right now, and the biggest question on most potential moviegoer’s minds is, is it worth the $20 admission price for 40 minutes?  (That’s 50¢ a minute.)  The 3D I found to be a little overbearing at times, although there is no doubt the visuals here are stunning in IMAX.  On the one hand for those who wish to try the IMAX experience, you might justify it, but on the other hand I think this film’s message will be just as powerful if you watch it once it’s come to DVD.


Born to be Wild IMAX 3D Review by Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

Born To Be Wild is the fifth documentary film by Canadian zoologist David Lickley.  In this film, we visit two wildlife rehabilitation centres that, although on separate continents, serve the same purpose.  One is the Sheldrick Foundation, a Kenyan elephant centre run by rehabilitator Daphne Sheldrick.  Here, baby elephants who have been orphaned by poachers are raised by a team of volunteers until they can be released into the safety of a national park.  The other sanctuary featured is run by Canadian primatologist Dr. Biruté Goldikas.  Here on the island of Borneo, Dr. Biruté and her volunteers rescue baby orangutans that have been orphaned by both the palm oil and pet trades.  The orangutans are hand raised by people in a rainforest setting.  They are taught how to do everything a wild orangutan needs to survive, before being released in a protected area.


Born To Be Wild is a heartwarming and inspiring film.  It gets its message across without being preachy.  While it could have been a depressing film about environmental destruction, instead it’s a very watchable documentary filled with adorable and endearing baby animals.  At only 40 minutes long, Born To Be Wild is the perfect length for kids.  I also liked the use of both the wolf theme from Fantastic Mr. Fox, and K’Nann’s Wavin’ Flag.


With spectacular visuals and an inspiring message, Born To Be Wild is worth seeing for Earth Day.


Born to be Wild IMAX 3D Review by Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Two dedicated women, two different countries, two types of animals with one single mission – to rescue orphan animals, rehabilitate and then return them to the wild.


Canadian director David Lickley expertly weaves two inspiring stories of animal rescue and conservation in his beautifully shot documentary – Born to be Wild.  The film goes back and forth between Daphne Sheldrick’s elephant sanctuary in Kenya and Dr. Biruté Galdikas’ orangutan rescue facility in Borneo, Indonesia.


Narrated by the wonderful Morgan Freeman, we watch as baby elephants and baby orangutans are rescued, loved and nurtured by local animal caregivers and eventually re-introduced to their natural habitats.  The shots of the babies are adorable and amusing as well as heartbreaking.  Baths, feeding, cuddling, playing are all wonderful to watch.  At only forty minutes long the film holds the attention of most kids and never bores viewers.


Without ever being preachy Born to be Wild manages to get across a message about conservation while offering an educational experience that’s both fun and beautiful to watch.  The only draw back would be the extra surcharge for IMAX 3D that may keep it out of reach for some families.  My hope would be that school groups are able to access this film so large numbers of kids will have the opportunity to see it.  With Earth Day on April 22nd Born to be Wild is worth checking out.


Born to be Wild IMAX 3D Review by Tony

***1/2 (out of 4)

Born to Be Wild is a 40 minute IMAX 3D documentary on two programs that raise baby animals orphaned by poachers and habitat encroachment until they can be released into the wild within protected national parks. Both programs were started decades ago and still run by women: Dame Daphne Sheldrick with the elephants of Kenya and Biruté Galdikas with the orangutans of Borneo.


The challenges of filming in the field, both in 70 mm and digital Red™ IMAX 3D formats, were well met by the experienced Canadian director David Lickley, and pulled together into a well-paced and charming film narrated by Morgan Freeman. The 3D effects are impressive, if a bit gimmicky at times, for those who can afford to pay the IMAX premium for such a short film, and its important conservation message will still be effective for many more viewers in disc and download formats in homes and schools.


Consensus: Narrated by Morgan Freeman, Born to be Wild is a charming  little film to watch, that gently shares an important message of conservation.  The 40-minute running time is perfect for kids, with the only drawback being the inflated price of an IMAX 3D ticket. ***1/4 (Out of 4)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Carina permalink
    July 15, 2011 2:28 pm

    My family watched this documentary at tbe Natural History Museum in DC and our total cost was around $30 for three of us! Wow! Guess it pays to wait or look around. No matter the price, this film was a deligbtfully educating gem that was a feast for the eye8s! The 3D effects were quite credible and engaging, and I would recommend this film to young and old! It’s message is that important and the babies….well they made the whole audience chuckle and think twice about the conservation of life most precious!


    • July 15, 2011 2:46 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the film, no matter the price. Agreed, this is a beautiful visual delight on every level as it shares an incredibly important message. It’s also the perfect length for those of any age to enjoy.

      Thanks for commenting!

      -John C.


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