New on DVD/Blu-ray: IMAX Born to be Wild (2011)

Born to be Wild (2011) Movie Image

If you needed a voiceover narrator to nail it into your head that you’re watching a every important documentary here, it’s Morgan Freeman or bust. That’s a given, right? The Oscar-winning actor returns in another voiceover gig, this time on Warner Bros.’ family-minded documentary “IMAX Born to be Wild”. It’s a heartwarming and inspirational look at the lives of orphaned elephants and orangutans rescued from certain death. Yes, it’s sugary as all get out, but it’s also incredibly uplifting and inspirational, and it might just make your kids think. Heck, it might make you think about your actions, too. “Born to be Wild” will be available on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and for download courtesy of Warner Bros. on April 17, 2012.

Narrated by Academy-Award® winner Morgan Freeman, Born to be Wild 3D is an inspiring story of love, dedication and the remarkable bond between humans and animals. This film documents orphaned orangutans and elephants and the extraordinary people who rescue and raise them — saving endangered species one life at a time. Stunningly captured in IMAX 3D, Born to be Wild 3D is a heartwarming adventure transporting moviegoers into the lush rainforests of Borneo with world-renowned primatologist Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas, and across the rugged Kenyan savannah with celebrated elephant authority Dame Daphne M. Sheldrick, as they and their teams rescue, rehabilitate and return these incredible animals back to the wild. Born to be Wild 3D is a presentation of Warner Bros. Pictures and IMAX Filmed Entertainment. Directed by David Lickley and written and produced by Drew Fellman, the behind the scenes team includes supervising line producer Diane Roberts, associate producer Jill Ferguson, director of photography David Douglas and editor Beth Spiegel. Music is composed by Mark Mothersbaugh.

If you have kids and wanted them to get involved in conservationism (hey, they’re your kids, do what you want with them), then David Lickey’s “Born to be Wild” is probably the film you’d show them. Shot in IMAX 3D, this is the kind of title that reminds me it sure would be nice to have a big ol TV screen to watch something like this on. It is that spectacular of a viewing experience.

Essentially two stories about the same subject, director David Lickey’s “Born to be Wild” follows primatologist Birute Galdikas and her crusade to save endangered orangutans in the wilds of Borneo, while at the same time following Daphne Sheldrick, an elephant expert as she fights her own good fight to save similarly endangered elephants in the rugged Kenyan countryside. It’s one tale of two exceptionally talented and caring women on opposite parts of the globe. With Galdikas and her orangutans, it’s human progress (and the expanding palm oil industry) into the rain forest that is the culprit, while Sheldrick faces the very dangerous species called poachers. The common enemy for both endangered species, of course, are humans. Yes, you, the ones reading this. What’s wrong with you?

At just forty minutes, I probably would have preferred if the movie decided to concentrate on one subject rather than try to cram both in there, but nevertheless, there is enough here that you shouldn’t feel too cheated by the short running time. Endearing and educational, “Born to be Wild” is less a wide-ranging, in-depth look at the problems facing crusaders like Sheldrick and Galdikas than it is a quick snap shot of the situation. A, “This is what’s happening NOW,” introduction that demands further exploration from you, the audience. By the time the film wraps, most will be running to the Internet to try to find out more, and, I think, that was the real goal of the film. It certainly worked on me. You would have to be made of stone and other smelly things not to be moved by the plight of these animals.

Born to be Wild (2011) Movie Image

Thanks to its IMAX 3D pedigree, “Born to be Wild” offers up a transfer to Blu-ray that is pretty much flawless. Just make sure you have a nice plasma or HD TV to watch it on, because to see what David Lickey and company have shot on anything less would be a crime against nature. (See what I did there?) After all, what’s better than watching baby elephants playing soccer on a crisp HD screen? Not a whole lot, in this universe or any other universe, that’s for sure.

The Blu-ray combo pack comes in standard packaging, and offers up a DVD and Blu-ray version, plus Ultraviolet copy for streaming. (I have yet to meet anyone who has taken advantage of Ultraviolet, but maybe that’s just me.) The disc is a bit short on special features, with only a handful of short “webisodes” (about 3 minutes each) that chronicles the difficulties of shooting the film on location in the IMAX format. It’s pretty amazing how intimate Lickey and company got to their non-human subject matters. Who knew elephants and orangutans were so camera ready?

Buy “Born to be Wild” on DVD or Blu-ray April 17, 2012 from Warner Bros. Pictures.

Born to be Wild (2011) Movie Blu-ray Cover

Got time? Here’s a nice selection of pics from the movie: