The magic of IMAX is especially effective in Born to Be Wild 3D, a new film documenting rescues of orphaned baby orangutans and elephants. Not only do you want to reach out and touch the images that seem to be mere inches away from your face. You want pull them in and hug them.
It’s not just that the young animals featured in the movie are incredibly adorable. Their stories of loss and subsequent rescue by teams of remarkable people tug at the heart strings with a force that viewers of any age will feel.
The film depicts the parallel worlds of primatologist Dr. Birute Galdikas, who runs a sanctuary for orphaned orangutans in Borneo, and Dame Daphne Sheldrick, who rescues and rehabilitates baby elephants in Kenya. Bouncing between the two places, the movie highlights the dedication and compassion of the two extraordinary women and their teams who devote themselves to helping give these animals a second chance at life in the wild.
My five-year-old, Owen, and I watched a screening together, and we both were captivated for the entire 40-minutes. Some of the scenes elicited giggles — elephants kicking a soccer ball across a field and orangutans going for a wheelbarrow ride are a couple of amusing images. Others brought tears to my eyes — an elephant caretaker staying up all night with a new, anxious orphan is one of many that stir the emotions. These are just a sample; some of the best you have to see for yourself.
All of it is stunning on the big screen and, narrated by Morgan Freeman, it’s easy for little ones to follow as well. The concepts of conservation and compassion will not be lost on young eyes and ears. As I watched Owen try several times to give those animals hugs, I knew he truly understood them.
Born to Be Wild 3D is playing at the Samuel C. Johnson IMAX Theater in the National Museum of Natural History at various times daily. Tickets are $9 and available for purchase online or at the box office.