Born in China
Directed by Lu Chuan
Disneynature, 2017, 76 minutes
A few weeks ago, my wife and I saw the very good film, “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” and one of the accompanying previews was for “Born in China,” which looked very good. When we mentioned the movie to our five-year-old granddaughter, she knew all about it and wanted to see it, too. So Friday evening, the five of us (my wife, our oldest son, our 18YO and 5YO granddaughters, and myself) packed into my wife’s Jetta like sardines and went to see “Born in China.”
This nature documentary follows a year in the the lives of a panda bear and her cub, a snow leopard and her two cubs, a golden snub-nosed monkey, and a herd of “chiru” antelope in the backwoods of China. The scenery and photography are breathtaking – what a Creator we have! – and the stories are fascinating. However, the struggles between predator and prey are way too graphic for young children. The MPAA association goofed by awarding this film a G-rating. It’s definitely too violent for a 5-year-old.
Something else bothered me about this movie. A couple of times the narrator interjects an Eastern philosophy, “cycle of life” monologue explaining how some Chinese believe the spirits of dead animals are carried up and away by red-crowned cranes to eventually become new animals. Wow! So Disney is now introducing its young audiences to reincarnation? Lovely. There’s also a mention of Eastern religion’s concept of the ying and yang. These references to Eastern religion are going to fly over the heads of most young children but they are causes for concern, along with the sometimes very graphic displays of animal survival. For older kids, the reincarnation references could be used as an excellent “teaching moment” opportunity after the movie.
After the show we stopped in at a nearby Chipotle for burritos all around (no scolding comments please, I ate only HALF of mine). It was my first visit to Chipotles and I liked it very much. No qualifiers on the food!