Tulsa TV Memories      

Born to Be Wild

"Born to Be Wild" | a film review by Gary Chew

GARY CHEW/Sacramento

You'd think with a film titled "Born to Be Wild" there'd be, at least, a few bars of the Steppenwolf song backing up some of the action on the screen, but... oh, no!...we get Mel Tormé singing "I'm Comin' Home, Baby," and Harry Nilsson doing "Let The Good Times Roll." There are even other songs, as well, that have no connection, whatsoever, to Herrmann Hesse or Peter Fonda. What's the deal?

Well, it's because "Born to Be Wild," the new IMAX 3D documentary, is about animals whose destiny is to exist in the wild. (You know... like on a savannah in Kenya or a rainforest in Borneo?) The animals in this case, or film, are orphaned elephants and orangutans who've lost their mothers to poachers and are given another chance at life by humans who care about them.

Wow, what a concept! And talk about a short documentary film (just 40 minutes) that would help engender a sense of care, family and belonging in human children. Wow, what another concept that is, too: little kids seeing how humans, mostly women, rescue and care for little elephants and orangutans, and rehabilitate them to the habitat in which they're meant to be but, as babies, can't manage on their own.

The mellifluous voiced Morgan Freeman gives you the skinny on how dedicated people like primatologist, Dr. Birute Galdikas and champion of elephants, Dame Daphne Sheldrick (with their assistants) do what they do, so well, for these displaced beasts. Yip, there just isn't any way to write a review about this movie without using the term, "heartwarming."

Heartwarming is good---especially for young children.

Not only that, but there's an opportunity for ducking away from splashed water as the baby animals obstreperously bathe and drink together. Or, you can try to catch the soccer ball that also magically comes toward you via the giant 3D IMAX screen that looms just beyond your nose, while very gianormous amplifiers somewhere behind the screen pump voice, music and wild sound (of the wild) from humongous speakers into your ears. A lot of oo-ing and ah-ing went on as I watched and listened.

Forty minutes is a fine running time for the small guys and gals in an audience. And, even nicer: the kids don't have to watch animal innards being consumed by their four-footed stalkers, or being butchered by two-legged predators who come 'round, now and then, to take target practice, just for the sport of it all.

I wonder if anyone who develops video curriculum for children has ever thought about running three nurturing nature documentaries like "Born to Be Wild," for every single blood 'n' guts/blow-'em-away home video game a kid might play in a day's time.

Five stars for being what's-good-for-you is what this well-done documentary gets. It was written by Drew Fellman and directed by David Lickley. Bravissimo, gentlemen!

And I do mean gentlemen.

"Born to Be Wild" official site. Opens wide April 8.

See Yahoo Movies-Tulsa for theaters and times.

Gary Chew can be reached at garychew@comcast.net,
Facebook.com/justin.playfair and Twitter.com/orwellingly.

Copyright © 2011, Gary Chew. All rights reserved.

Chew's Reviews    Who is Gary Chew?    Main page