I got to see a special advance screening of this movie 6 months before its US release. I may mention certain specific moments of the movie, but I won't spoil anything. One of the producers came onstage before the movie started and talked about how it took 4 years to film everything and then they edited everything together to form each of the stories. This is noticeable in at least one scene where it cuts back and forth between a panda and red panda to imply they're looking at each other, but that's the only noticeable instance that comes to mind. Among all the animals they filmed, the three main stories center around families of Pandas, monkeys, and snow leopards. The narrator tries to anthropomorphicise everything the cute furry animals do. I know other nature documentaries sometimes do that, this one does it a lot, trying everything to make it more emotionally relatable, and I guess for the most part it works, but it might get a little annoying at parts. Speaking of the narrator, I assume there was a technical difficulty at my screening since there was no narration for the first 10 minutes, then all of a sudden he started taking as if we already knew who the animals were. What's up with that? It sorta goes without saying that the landscapes are beautiful and the footage is impressive. What really sets this film apart is how much footage they got of the snow leopards. If you didn't know, snow leopards are very rare and notoriously difficult to photograph, let alone film. Even Planet Earth didn't get anywhere near as much footage, or as close. I'd say this movie is worth checking out just for the snow leopard footage alone. It's difficult for me to give nature films a numerical rating since they're so different from traditional movies, so all I can really say is its pretty good. I gave it a 7/10 because I ranked every movie I've seen in theaters in 2016 from best to worst, and this movie falls in the 7/10 block for me.
Born in China
Narrated by John Krasinski ("13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi," NBC's "The Office," "Amazon's "Jack Ryan"), Disneynature's new True Life Adventure film "Born In China" takes an epic journey into the wilds of China where few people have ever ventured. Following the stories of three animal families, the film transports audiences to some of the most extreme environments on Earth to witness some of the most intimate moments ever captured in a nature film. A doting panda bear mother guides her growing baby as she begins to explore and seek independence. A two-year-old golden snub-nosed monkey who feels displaced by his new baby sister joins up with a group of free-spirited outcasts. And a mother snow leopard-an elusive animal rarely caught on camera-faces the very real drama of raising her two cubs in one of the harshest and most unforgiving environments on the planet. Featuring stunning, never-before-seen imagery, the film navigates China's vast terrain-from the frigid mountains to the heart of the bamboo forest-on the wings of red-crowned cranes, seamlessly tying the extraordinary tales together.