Wildlife documentarian David Lickley has learned a thing or two in his decade of making movies like “Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees.” He knows how to weave effective environmental stories into his films while letting the babies do all the work. That’s right, he knows that nobody can resist a baby anything, and uses that appeal to tell his stories of animal conservation and rehabilitation.
His new IMAX film “Born to be Wild 3D” is a forty minute look at two selfless scientists who’ve dedicated their lives to saving orphaned orangutans and elephants. Flip flopping between the Kenyan savannah and the rainforests of Borneo to tell the stories of elephant authority Dame Daphne Sheldrick and primatologist Dr. Biruté Galdikas, the film tells a mostly kid friendly story of how these women have dedicated their lives to rescuing these vulnerable animals. There are lessons to be learned, facts about how and why the animals became orphaned, but by-and-large Lickley lets the pictures do the talking, showing the baby orangutans and elephants as they are cared for and mature under the careful eyes of their adopted parents.
It’s educational but it’s the baby animals that will likely make the strongest impression. Beautifully and intimately photographed, words like adorable and delightful come to mind when searching for adjectives to describe the younguns’. There’s a reason why the most viewed YouTube videos feature small animals and “Born to be Wild 3D” takes advantage of that appeal to introduce the larger story of conservation. Let the babies do the work.
“Born to be Wild 3D” is heart warming stuff geared for families topped off by the dulcet tones of Morgan Freeman as narrator. Very small children may find the animal’s back stories a bit upsetting but overall this should appeal to everyone in the house.