'Born in China' [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD]
(John Krasinski / 2-Disc Blu ray+DVD+Digital / G / (2016) 2017 / Walt Disney)
Overview: Disney's 'Born In China', narrated by John Krasinski, transports audiences to some of the world’s most extreme environments of China where few people have ever ventured to witness wildly intimate and adorable moments in the lives of three animal families - a doting panda bear mother, a 2-year-old golden snub-nosed monkey, and a mother snow leopard.
Blu ray+DVD Verdict: OK, just so we're all on the same page here, 'Born in China' is a 2016 nature documentary directed by Lu Chuan ("The Missing Gun") with a screenplay by David Fowler, Brian Leith, Phil Chapman, and Lu Chuan. The music is by Barnaby Taylor with editing by Matthew Meech and production by Roy Conli ("Big Hero 6"), Brian Leith, and Phil Chapman.
Narrated here for its USA release by John Krasinski ("The Office") when it was originally aired in China it was narrated by actress Zhou Xun ("Suzhou River"). The entirety of this documentary was filmed in unpopulated areas of China, which once you view this stunning work of visual art, will make much more sense to you.
Indeed, and with that in mind, for 'Born in China' to work, various Chinese wildlife were followed for a year, their misadventures and struggles culminating in this document of a film. It was released in China August 12th, 2016, and will now see it's home video release here in the USA on August 29th, 2017 (it also had a limited theatrical run that began April 21st, 2017).
'Born in China' has raised approximately $15.2 million worldwide, runs for 1 hour, 16 minutes and is rated G.
So, now we have the hard facts out of the way (facts I thought you should know, given that they enhance the viewing spectacle of this wondrous documentary, in my humble opinion) lets talk about the documentary itself.
'Born in China' centers on various Chinese wildlife; one being a snow leopard named Dawa struggling to collect the needed food for her two cubs. With increasing competition and food supply decreasing, Dawa struggles to maintain her cubs' health.
The second is that of Tao-Tao, a golden snub-nosed monkey who is constantly plagued by his family's bias to a newborn sister. Tao-Tao joins a group of misfits, referenced as "The Lost Boys," but still finds himself lonely.
The third is a panda named Ya-Ya and her baby daughter Mei- Mei (pronounced "My-My," apparently). As Mei-Mei grows older, Ya- Ya is forced to confront her daughter's maturity and newfound independence.
Finally, there is a herd of chiru, who are there for little plot complexity and more for cinematography.
Sadly, many Disney Nature films have fallen victim to this, but 'Born in China' maintains a serviceable, if not entirely balanced, scale between these two conflicting features. That is not to say the film is not without fault though.
Sadly, Krasinski, while of talent, does not do the film justice with mediocre narrating. Most of the jokes are meant to be cute, but with Krasinski's delivery, something goes wrong, leaving a decent quip that may have earned my half-hearted chortle acquainted with silence.
As a whole though, 'Born in China' is deserved of some of the detraction's above mentioned, but, and as a whole, the film is highly entertaining and somewhat educational. I would recommend it as an educational schooling tool and as something to watch as a family on a wet Sunday afternoon. This a Widescreen Presentation (1:78.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Blu-ray Special Features of:
Panda Suits & Bamboo Shoots – Join the team as they struggle through an almost impenetrable bamboo forest in an effort to capture footage of pandas in the wild.
Walking with Monkeys – The shivering crew bundles up to film the adorable golden snub-nosed monkeys engaged in a surprisingly human activity.
Masters of Camouflage – Go behind the scenes as the filmmakers set out on a quest never before achieved: to find and film a snow leopard family in the wild.
Wading Through Wetlands – A crew travels to far northeast China to catch the first moments of a red-crowned crane chick’s life.
“Everything Everything” - Music Video performed by American Authors
Disneynature: Get Inspired, Get Involved – Join Disneynature and the Disney Conservation as they thank our audiences and the animals who star in the films for helping to make Disneynature and its conservation efforts a success.
'Crane Chicks' Exclusive Clip
'Monkeys' Exclusive Clip