Blu-ray Review: Disneynature "Born in China" Offers Solid Set of Blu-ray Features to Complement the Film
Disney has released the Disneynature film Born in China on Blu-ray/DVD & digital. I didn't have a chance to review the movie when it was screened here, so I will be talking about the feature itself as well as the bonus material. We had sent a correspondent to a California event to learn about the movie before it opened, so I already had some knowledge on the film and outcome of one of the animals.
Born in China is a stunning film that was filmed in an area of China that isn't where humans tend to go. Snow leopard cubs have never or rarely been filmed in the wild. There are three animal families - the snow leopards, panda bears, and golden snub-nosed monkeys. In Disneynature films, the animals receive names and a narrative that may or may include suggesting what the animal is thinking. While sometimes I would prefer just to watch the animals without insight into their possible thoughts and hopes, John Krasinski does a solid job as a narrator.
Generally, Disneynature cuts their films where the main characters are ones that survive. In the case of Born in China, that isn't what happens with one character. We see the circle of life as it occurs in nature, though not graphically. However, I found Born in China not only a joyful film at times, but a sad one as well.
Born in China was a difficult shoot - really a difficult set of shoots, and the bonus features show that. And above, when I said that I would prefer to just watch the animals? The bonus features offer that - I really love the footage here. There is narration, but straight narration that is well done. Each of the bonus features share the challenges of filming the animals. Panda Suits & Bamboo Shoots shows how the fillmmakers had to dress somewhat like pandas to be among them - and finding the pandas among the bamboo was no easy task. Masters of Camoflauge is about the snow leopards, and how very difficult it was to find a family of them. And the first view of a golden snub-nosed monkey in Walking with Monkeys is adorable! It is interesting to see the differences between the three animal shoots. The monkey feature is actually interactive just like in the film Monkey Kingdom, where the monkeys know that the filmmakers are around and climb on things (in this case, even the cameraman). Honestly, because I found the end of Born in China a little sad, I highly recommend watching the bonus features - in particular, Walking with Monkeys for some levity.
Here is a clip of the monkey segment.
I recommend Born in China for your film collection.
Here is information on the bonus features:
BONUS FEATURES (Blu-ray & Digital)*:
Panda Suits & Bamboo Shoots – 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 – check out the full music video of American Authors end-credit song “Everything Everything.”
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.
Product SKUs: Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray+DVD+Digital), Digital HD/SD, and On-Demand
Feature Run Time: Approximately 79 minutes
Rating:G in U.S., G in CE, and G in CF
Aspect Ratio: 1080p High Definition / Widescreen 1:78:1
Audio:English Audio 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Languages/Subtitles:Blu-ray = English SDH, Spanish and French
Disneynature was launched in April 2008. Its mission is to bring the world’s top nature filmmakers together to share a wide variety of wildlife stories on the big screen in order to engage, inspire and educate theatrical audiences everywhere. Walt Disney was a pioneer in wildlife filmmaking, producing 13 True-Life Adventure motion pictures between 1948 and 1960, which earned eight Academy Awards®. The first six Disneynature films, “Earth,” “Oceans,” “African Cats,” “Chimpanzee,” “Bears” and “Monkey Kingdom” are six of the top seven highest overall grossing feature-length nature films to date, with “Chimpanzee” garnering a record-breaking opening weekend for the genre. Disneynature’s commitment to conservation is a key pillar of the label and the films empower the audience to help make a difference.
ABOUT DISNEY CONSERVATION FUND (DCF)
The Disney Conservation Fund, founded in 1995, is a key pillar in Disney’s efforts to protect the planet and help kids develop lifelong conservation values. The fund supports the study of wildlife; the protection of habitats; the development of community conservation and education programs in critical ecosystems; and experiences that connect kids to nature across the globe. More information about DCF's efforts for wildlife, wild places and the people linked to their survival, is available at www.disney.com/conservation.
ABOUT DISNEY MOVIES ANYWHERE (DMA):
Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) is an engaging and family-friendly cloud-based digital movie service that makes it easy to buy Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars movies once and watch them anywhere. Viewers can enjoy their digital movies from the comfort of their living room and across multiple mobile platforms by simply adding the free DMA app or channel to their devices, such as iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android mobile phones and tablets, Android TV, Amazon’s Fire tablets, Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Roku, and Xbox 360, and connecting to their DMA account with participating providers including iTunes, Amazon Video, VUDU, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV and Fios by Verizon. DMA users can explore Disney’s library of over 450 digital movies, discover hours of new and exclusive short-form content, redeem Digital Movie codes found in eligible Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars product, and earn Disney Movie Rewards points with every digital purchase.
ABOUT THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS:
For over 90 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company was built. Today, the Studio brings quality movies, music and stage plays to consumers throughout the world. Feature films are released under the following banners: Disney, including Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios; Disneynature; Marvel Studios; Lucasfilm; and Touchstone Pictures. The Disney Music Group encompasses the Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records labels, as well as Disney Music Publishing. The Disney Theatrical Group produces and licenses live events, including Disney on Broadway, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!.
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