It’s been two years since Disneynature‘s last theatrical release hit screens, the fantastic Monkey Kingdom. Attached to that film was an early teaser for what would be the next film from the studio, Born in China. Due to taking a year off from the Earth Day schedule, another teaser followed in 2016, and now comes the anticipated release of a film that my daughters have been asking for since they saw that first teaser two Aprils ago. While in San Francisco for the #Cars3Event last month, I had a chance to check out an early screening of Born in China, a film that is about to take audiences to some of the world’s most beautiful and remote locales.
Because of the state of the world in which we live, when I think of China, my thoughts generally move toward the roughly billion-and-a-half people that live there – often tightly-packed into vast urban spaces, many working in manufacturing to produce the goods that American consumers rely on. From there, it’s action-packed kung-fu movies, a robust military and looming Global tension. Thing is, there’s so much more, and Born in China is a reflection of a China that most will never see.
Much like the U.S. in terms of land mass, the sheer size of China makes for a country with incredible differences in climate and landscape. Icy mountain ranges give way to open plains, while lush, bamboo forests hide an ecosystem inhabited by creatures both adorable and fierce.
Narrated by John Krasinski (13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, NBC’s The Office, Amazon’s Jack Ryan), Born in China weaves a trio of three main stories together, focusing on a mother Panda and her baby, a mother snow leopard and her cubs, and a family of golden monkeys. Along the way, we’re introduced to their neighbors – friends, enemies, allies and nuisances alike.
For families, there will be much to discuss, as behavioral elements in the animal kingdom (especially that golden monkey family in which the kids keep trying to climb on their daddy!) can be reflective of humans as well. For those with younger children, it is important to note that there are scenes of peril, and sadly, even death. As another famous Disney film once said, it’s “the circle of life,” and this will likely elicit an emotional response for some viewers, with animal passings linked to Chinese mythology in which cranes are said to carry the souls of the departed when they take flight. A beautiful film that’s both educational and entertaining, Born in China is one of this spring’s must-see events.
Born in China was directed by Chinese filmmaker Lu Chuan, and produced by Disney’s Roy Conli (Big Hero 6, Tangled) and renowned nature filmmakers Brian Leith and Phil Chapman.
Disneynature’s Born in China opens on April 21, 2017. Get tickets now via Fandango. Be sure to see the film during its opening week (April 21-27, 2017), where ticket sales will benefit the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Based on opening-week attendance, Disneynature, via the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, will make a contribution to the WWF to help protect wild pandas and snow leopards in China.