A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Pandas: The Journey Home is a 40-minute National Geographic documentary about the Wolong Panda Center in China. It's the kind of nature film you might see in a museum or a special IMAX theater. There's nothing inappropriate for young children, but there are references to a panda that died in the wild, as well as some discussion of mating that might go over the head of younger viewers. Preschool and kindergarten-aged kids might be a tad bored, since the movie isn't just about how cute pandas are; it's more about the fact that they're endangered and in need of protection (it's also about the Chinese zoologists who dedicate their lives to saving and helping pandas). Animal-loving families will especially appreciate the documentary.
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What's the story?
PANDAS: THE JOURNEY HOME is a 40-minute National Geographic Films documentary that provides unparalleled access into China's Wolong Panda Center to find out how Chinese conservationists are trying to secure the safety and the future of China's adorable (and endangered) native animal. The documentary reveals how the center was able to successfully breed 300 giant pandas and is now tasked with the daunting mission of reintroducing breeding pandas into the wild. The filmmakers were granted permission to follow the animals as they attempt to make the mountains -- rather than the Panda Center -- their new home.
Is it any good?
Kids who love animals and are interested in conservation will find the film inspiring. Afterward, children (and parents!) will want to do their part to ensure that the black-and-white critters are able to thrive on their own. Pandas are among the world's most beloved animals, but they're endangered, and in their native China, it fell to the renowned Wolong Panda Center to build up the population with an ambitious breeding program. This nature documentary provides an up-close look at how the Chinese zoologists and panda specialists, like wary parents, have to prepare their pandas for living in the wild. It's educational and informative for kids who don't know much about pandas other than that they love bamboo and make for one of the most popular stops on a trip to the zoo.
The only downside is that Pandas isn't as upbeat or engrossing as some other animal documentaries, so littler kids may get a tad bored that it's not jazzed up with celebrity narration or catchy pop music. But it does feature enough footage of the beautiful animals to make any moviegoer smile.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of nature documentaries. Why are kids/families so interested in animal films?
Why are wildlife documentaries so commonly shot in the IMAX/3-D format? Do you prefer documentaries in 3-D or in regular format?
What could your family do that might make an impact on panda conservation efforts in China? How about closer to home?
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