Born in China

Apr 27, 2017

Lushly photographed and endearing animals.

Born in China

Image courtesy of IMDb.

Grade: B

Director: Chaun Lu (City of Life and Death)

Screenplay: David Fowler, et al.,

Cast: John Krasinski, narrator

Runtime: 75 min

by John DeSando

Disney: Nobody does it better, capturing nature seen for the first time by the general public. In Born in China, cuddly Pandas are featured along with a sleek snow leopard, young monkeys’ business, and yak moms. Not to forget an occasional goshawk picking off careless youngun’s even though more often than not the babies get away.

Yep, that’s Disneyfied reality, keeping things sweet until it’s necessary to do a reality check that is nonetheless about as sanitized as a Mormon cathedral. None of this visual manipulation is as distracting as the verbal honey director Chaun Lu and writers spread on John Krasinski’s grade-school narration.

Touching moments abound, especially the family play and eat times. Making this documentary acceptable for the whole family are benign Darwinian search-for-food segments that may mislead children to think Tennyson was a blowhard when he called Nature “red in tooth and claw.” The narration couches the rough moments in the usual Disney circle-of-life motif. It’s beautifully- photographed propaganda for Mother Nature.

Regardless, it is gorgeous in a Disney way, bereft of the trauma the world faces every day. Go, if you will, just for the Chinese landscapes—they’re impressive. Otherwise, it’s a feel good date.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at