Blu-ray Review Born in China

'Born in China' Blu-ray Review: An up close and personal look at nature's familial bonds

August 29, 2017Ben MK

Over the course of films like Bears, African Cats and Oceans, Disneynature has given moviegoers rare glimpses into the lives of some of the planet's most fascinating creatures. Now, for its ninth feature, the studio is taking viewers on an unforgettable journey to the Far East.

Spanning a year in the life of its subjects, Born in China offers an up close and personal look at the joys, hardships and day-to-day activities of a handful of the continent's most elusive species, from red-crowned cranes, which are recognized as symbols of longevity and good fortune in Chinese mythology, to the sacred Chiru antelope. However, the stars of the film are undoubtedly the furriest animals of the bunch — namely a snow leopard named Dawa, a two-year-old golden snub-nosed monkey named TaoTao, and a giant panda named YaYa.

Narrated by The Office's John Krasinski, the movie frames the lives of these creatures in terms that should prove easily relatable to anyone. However, it's parents in particular who will empathize the most with the events that unfold onscreen, whether it's mother of two Dawa fiercely defending her territory and her cubs, TaoTao skulking with jealousy over the attention his parents lavish on his new baby sister, or new mom YaYa doting over her daughter, MeiMei, whose curiosity about the world around her grows stronger with each passing day.

Bolstered by spectacular imagery of China's vast, untouched wilderness — from the rocky terrain of the Qinghai Plateau in the west to the lush jungle foliage of the Sichuan mountain valleys in the east — Born in China isn't just an unprecedented look at these animals in their natural habitats. It's also a breathtaking look at how the bond between parent and child transcends not only cultures, but also species. Only very young viewers might find a couple of scenes too intense, but otherwise this is the kind of nature documentary the whole family can enjoy.

From wide shots of majestic landscapes to intimate closeups of pandas, monkeys and leopards, there's not a stone left unturned nor a hair out of place when it comes to Born in China's 1080p visuals, which fill the screen with razor-sharp details and bring to life the movie's colorful palette of autumnal hues, snowy white peaks and clear blue skies with eye-popping brilliance. Factor in the accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix that channels the sounds of winds blowing through wheat fields, flowing streams and rustling leaves, not to mention the plethora of wildlife vocals, and this Blu-ray presentation is the next best thing to actually being there.

Disney's two-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes an iTunes digital copy and a DVD, as well as the following Blu-ray extras.

  • Panda Suits & Bamboo Shoots (6:27) - A look at the lengths to which cameraman Jacky Poon and his team went to film wild pandas in China's most remote regions.
  • Walking with Monkeys (8:03) - Field Director Jess Tombs gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of monkeys at Shennongjia Nature Reserve in Hubei Province.
  • Masters of Camouflage (4:56) - Cameraman Shane Moore gives viewers a look at his team's efforts to film a snow leopard family in Shenzha Xian in northeast China.
  • Wading Through Wetlands (5:22) - Cameraman Paul Stewart and his team travel to a wetland reserve to film red-crowned crane chicks.
  • "Everything Everything" Music Video Performed by American Authors (3:30) - The official music video for the song that plays over the film's end credits.
  • Disney Nature: Get Inspired, Get Involved (1:18) - A promo for Disneynature and the Disney Conservation Fund.

Born in China is available from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment as of August 29th, 2017. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 19 Mins.

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