This is a lovely film. It is a documentary but it also tells stories that keep the audience enthralled and engaged. As part of the Disneynature series, it is a perfect film to see in the September holidays with your children.
Filmed in some amazing landscapes in China, it tells the stories of a snow leopard family, a mother panda and her cub and a group of snub-nosed monkeys. Antelopes, cranes, wolves and a hawk play supporting roles.
The stories bear a large number of similarities between animal and human families and the relationships within them. There is sibling rivalry, helicopter parents, and teen rebellion all told with just the right amount of cuteness and humour.
There are also some sad parts, the real, often difficult life of animals and their hunt for food and quest for dominance in the animal kingdom. The 'circle of life' is illustrated through the seasons and shows the harsh reality when food is scarce. But don't worry there are no gory parts, explanations and some footage (sensitised) of the way animals behave when faced with looking after their young.
All the animals were of course born in China, and the three main actors are Dawa, the snow leopard and her cubs, Ya Ya and Mei Mei, the mother and cub panda, and Tao Tao, the rebellious snub-nosed monkey. By naming the animals, the film successfully makes these animals become part of our lives, we feel for them, laugh with them and also feel sad for them.
This is a film that should be seen on the big-screen, the cinematography is outstanding. Make sure you stay for the credits too, there are some funny bits. For more information on screening of the film as well as other Disneynature films in the September school holidays at ACMI on the film please check here.