In the lush jungles of Borneo, Dr. Birute Mary Galdikas created a reserve for orangutans before anyone else was considering them or saving their lives and space. In arid Kenya, Dr. Dame Daphne M. Sheldrick did the same for elephants. Morgan Freeman narrates this IMAX feature documentary on the two women and their efforts to rescue abandoned or abused animals in their community, painting a powerful story of cross-species relationships and the beauty of their habitats. Both of these women express through their lives a strong desire and impetus to be good stewards of the world they live in, defending orphans (even if they’re not human), and providing compassionate care for those in need.
Available on Blu-ray and DVD, the film can also be screened at select IMAX theaters, and you can take it on the go with the ultraviolet technology provided. This forty-minute movie provides its fair share of story in terms of the humans and their love for the animals, as well as history and background thanks to maps and narrative by Freeman. Galdikas and Sheldrick have to be commended for their efforts, love, and sacrifice, and their stories are what allows for the narrative to be held together. But watching the film, you wouldn’t be foolish to watch it with the mute on.
The power, grace, humor, and actions of the elephants and orangutans is amazing. Audiences of all ages will appreciate the way that these animals interact with each other, with their human handlers, and in the natural settings created for them. Watching elephants wrestle in the dust or watching orangutans swing from vines and jostle for position, you can’t help but appreciate the wonder of diversity and intelligence in non-human form. I can’t claim to keep the animals separate in my mind by name, but their individuality shines through in the film.
The other “character” on display in the movie is that of nature itself. Borneo and Kenya are beautiful, and the high-definition transfer is amazing. I can only imagine it would be even stronger in IMAX form, and David Lickley’s cinematography is awesome. Of course, he did have plenty of scenery to work with! And you can capture an even greater picture of the settings, animals, and humans in the six special features which range from “on location” types to a focus on the “‘Wild’ Filmmaking.” Honestly, the overall film and packaging jumps into my top five favorite animal documentaries (Oceans is still probably my favorite), and it comes with the highest recommendation for a family or individual seeking to embrace the beauty of nature and consider their role in stewardship of it.