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Film Review: IMAX Born to be Wild 3D

Apr 06, 2011 01:24PM ● By Wendy Sipple

Born to be Wild follows primatologist Dr. Birute Galdikas’s team and elephant authority Dame Daphne Sheldrick’s team as they nurse and care for orphaned orangutans and elephants, then release them back into the wild. The film gives us an unparalleled look behind the scenes at how these truly inspiring people save endangered animals one life at a time.

The orphaned baby animals need 24-hour care and the film even shows how the caregivers sleep with the baby elephants. There are several great moments in Born to Be Wild although one particular scene really stood out. When two young elephants are deemed ready for transition to be reintroduced into the wild, the elephant herd of about 20 full-sized elephants makes the journey to greet the new “recruits.” To see the elephant’s social interaction is just incredible and illustrates how truly good the work these people do is.

Although the film is about orphaned baby elephants and orangutans, the film makers purposely stay clear of showing the horrible acts that people perpetrate on these wonderful creatures. This makes the film completely child-friendly which is wonderful. My children absolutely loved the movie and talked about it all night after seeing it. That type of education and reaction to this film is key to saving endangered animals from extinction. I can’t help to think that a brief segment that illustrated exactly what these poachers do and how awful their atrocities are would make the film have a greater impact and a longer lasting impression on the adult portion of the audience. 

The film stays mainly upbeat and does a good job delivering information for adults while showing plenty of cute antics by the baby animals to keep the children’s attention. It would have been nice to follow a specific animal from start to finish during the duration of the film, but I know the seven-year commitment to film that could be too daunting from a production standpoint. They did a job of introducing us to a few of the animal characters that were at different stages of the rehabilitation process so we got a general sense of how these young animals begin to thrive in these camps. 

The 3D was very effective. The camera angles were well composed, which can be very hard to do in a jungle setting. The image quality combined with 3D really gives the viewer an immersive quality while experiencing the film. Morgan Freeman’s voice is second to none and really adds a depth to the narration that few can -- he truly has one of the best voices in Hollywood.

I can’t end this review without plugging the good work by the people of Born Free USA -- the people who fund work like what we see in the movie. The charity dollars donated to Born Free USA goes to help these animals and does not go to the administrative purposes that a lot of larger organizations do. Your money really goes to help! Their Web site is if you are interested in learning more.

Born to be Wild is a great educational film for the family and is moving at the same time. It’s great to see people really making an impact in these young animals lives and giving them a second chance. Hopefully the film helps spread awareness of not only the animals plight, but how people can become active to really make a difference.  

FILMS LIKE BORN TO BE WILD – March of the Penguins, Earth, Oceans and Winged Migration


Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.