You would have to be some kind of a monster to hate on this movie; it features frolicking baby elephants pausing from play only long enough to drink from giant bottles of milk, orphaned baby animals learning to trust humans again, and a wheelbarrow full of baby orangutans. If those images—I repeat, a motherfucking wheelbarrow full of baby orangutans—don’t trigger some sort of primal delight in your brain, you’re frankly better off dead.
Born to Be Wild tells the story of two animal orphanages: a home for baby orangutans whose mothers were killed for trespassing on palm oil plantations, and a refuge for elephants left orphaned by poachers. It takes place in lush, gorgeous jungles in Indonesia and Kenya and other places where Barack Obama was born. The IMAX 3-D effects are mind-bogglingly good (at the screening I attended, children couldn’t restrain themselves from reaching into the air to pet the rumps of baby elephants that appeared to be floating a few inches away from their faces). And Morgan Freeman’s lullaby narration could have segued to a description of partial-birth abortion from a fundamentalist Christian perspective while still inspiring well-being and comfort in his audience.
But you say you want me to complain? All right: It’s only 40 minutes long, and the script could stand to give the audience a little more detail about the process of releasing the babies back into the wild. And we could always use more footage of baby orangutans gamboling about. Aside from that, it’s a big bucket of squeeeee!, with a reasonable side portion of environmental conscience.