A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids will learn a great deal about the two species followed in the documentary -- elephants and orangutans. The film teaches kids about the complexities of raising and caring for babies that belong in the wild. There are some references to the importance of habitat preservation and discussion of a few of the reasons that the animals are being left motherless.
The movies makes the case that people should care about the future and welfare of orphaned wild animals like elephants and orangutans. Galdikas and Sheldrick both show how a life of passion and dedication to conservation can save hundreds and thousands of animals. Although the movie doesn't focus on how humans are responsible for the endangerment of the animals, it does stress that everyone can -- and should-- help rescue efforts around the world.
Positive Role Models
Dame Sheldrick and Dr. Galdikas are both exemplary women who have devoted their careers -- and their lives -- to conservation and wildlife preservation efforts. Using their expertise and their passion for elephants and orangutans, each has been able to make a huge difference by saving animals and then releasing them back to their native environments.
Violence & Scariness
The narration references how the baby elephants and orangutans were orphaned -- mostly because of poachers and habitat loss. A few times an animal baby has an injury -- like a chewed up ear or a missing tail -- that's mentioned and explained (i.e., hyena attack).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this brief (40 minutes) IMAX documentary is a safe choice for younger kids because there aren't any upsetting scenes of predatory violence or deaths, both of which are common in comparable, longer films about the animal kingdom. There are, however, some references to the reasons that animals were orphaned (mostly due to poachers, since predators don't typically leave young animals alive). The two female experts followed in the documentary are wonderful role models, particularly to kids interested in zoology and nature, because they've dedicated their lives to researching and rescuing animals, as well as preserving their natural habitats. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Narrated by the soothing tones of Morgan Freeman, this documentary makes up for in content what it lacks in length. At a sprightly 40 minutes, it's just long enough to entertain even younger moviegoers with short attention spans. It may not always provide the most comprehensive view of the elephant and orangutan crisis (there's no sociopolitical commentary about why local practices contribute to the hunting of the adult elephants and orangutans), but it does provide an in-depth look at how two determined women, with the help of dozens of animal-loving staffers, have single-handedly made a tremendous impact on wildlife protection around the world.
It's hard to dislike a documentary that focuses on adorable baby animals. Watching a team of Indonesian women put diapers on newborn orangutan orphans and then sing a sweet lullaby as one of the babies falls asleep will be enough to make any mothers in the audience shed a tear or two. But despite the often-sentimental visuals, director David Lickley doesn't allow the narration to be overwrought or maudlin. Instead, he often hands over the narration to Galdikas and Sheldrick so that they can tell us in their own words why they're so passionate about these animals -- and why we should care about their plight. And even better than the touching documentary are the conversations you and your kids can have afterward about the enormity of the work of these dedicated experts.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.