Skip to content

Born to Be Wild 3D IMAX (2011)

April 8, 2011

written by: Drew Fellman
produced by: Drew Fellman
directed by: David Lickley
rated G
40 min.
U.S. release date: April 8, 2011
At first glance, “Born to Be Wild” looks like yet another nature doc that is designed to get all cutesy and informative on us, in three-dimensions no less. Yes, the film is full of amazing footage of dense rain forests and immense savannahs, but it also gives us a look at two amazing women who have devoted their lives to meeting the needs of two very different type of species in the animal kingdom. Full of breathtaking and amusing moments, it’s a film that utilizes IMAX 3D in one of the most interactive and effective ways, if only it was a bit longer.

Narrated by Morgan Freeman (who else?), director David Lickley takes us to Borneo to meet primatologist Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas and her orangutans, and then to Kenya to see elephant expert Dr. Dame Daphne M. Sheldrick. Both of these women have dedicated their time and energy to saving young animals whose parents have been killed by poachers. They take them in, nurse them, and integrate them with others of their kind. The goal though is to prepare them to go back into the wild and it is fascinating to see how all this is done. It’s ironic how these animals are threatened by humans, yet it’s humans who provide them with safety, shelter, and love.  



Lickley is no foreigner to capturing nature on film, particularly on IMAX screens. He’s done focused on bears and has worked with Dr. Jane Goodall, so something like this really is a labor of love for him. He clearly wants to immerse the audience in the world of these entertaining orangutans and watch as a young elephant gets taken from a pack of males that don’t have the maternal instincts (or milk) to care for him. How Lickley gets up close and personal using giant IMAX cameras, some scenes were even shot using 4k digital IMAX cameras (a first for any feature film), is very impressive. His work here makes me want to seek out his previews films, if only I had my own personal IMAX theater.
There are two pros and cons that come to mind when thinking about “Born to Be Wild 3D”. One con is that the thing is so short….only 40 minutes! Such length leaves no room to actually get to know these two women, but then again I suppose these is more about introductions and awareness than anything else. I suppose the length could also be a pro for those with restless younglings. Speaking of which, the other pro I think of is the fact that there’s no bloodshed in this nature doc. It’s usually a given in nature films to capture the violent attack of prey, it’s only natural after all. But the sole focus of this film is to show how these young animals are being cared for.
But what can you do? You can adopt one, through organizations like the Orangutan Foundation International at or the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust at, and become a parent from afar.
Remakes are released every month, so be glad this isn’t an update of 1995’s “Born to Be Wild” and be grateful that there is yet another film out there that can take you to a place you’ve likely never been to. Lickley’s doc doesn’t just give viewers some adorable animals, but it also introduces us to some amazing humans too. If you can check it out in IMAX, that definitely is the optimal way to travel.


RATNG: ***


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: