There was big news from the animal world recently as a giant panda named Kelin became a mother for the first time. The seven-year old panda, who had been artificially inseminated, gave birth to twin female cubs at a breeding center in Chengdu, in Southwest China. The news is so big because of the rarity of twin panda births. With the happy news being announced this week it would seem a fitting time to take a look at the newly released panda-centric documentary Pandas: The Journey Home. The documentary, which was recently released by National Geographic and Virgil Films, examines the efforts of workers at China’s Wolong Panda Center to raise and protect pandas. The program boasts a number of positives; positives that collectively show it to be both an invaluable tool for teachers and an enjoyable watch for even the most casual nature lover. The main way in which it shows this is through its central presentation. It doesn’t try to be just another wildlife program nor is it just another run-of-the-mill activist piece either. Rather it is a hybrid of both genres. The end result of that mix is a presentation that will move viewers both to laugh and cry. That sounds like a line right out of a movie promotion, yes. But in the case of this program, it is actually a fitting description. On a related note, the program’s cinematography is just as stunning. Audiences will see the pandas as they are raised in the mountains of China’s Sichuan Province. The footage that was captured and presented here is within itself plenty of reason for audiences to check out this documentary. Last but hardly least of note here is the program’s collective run time and pacing. It runs roughly forty minutes total. That is not very long. None of that time is wasted. Nor does it leave viewers feeling left behind and confused at any point. The resultant effect is that audiences will be better able to appreciate the program’s camerawork and the information shared throughout its run time. The end result of all of this is the realization that Pandas: The Journey Home is a documentary that any nature lover and animal lover should see at least once.
Pandas: The Journey Home is a documentary that every nature lover and animal lover should see at least once. For that matter it is a presentation that any fan of documentaries should see at least once. The main reason for this is its writing. The work of those charged with its writing composed it in such a way that it comes across as neither a standard wildlife nor an activist piece either. Rather it comes across as a hybrid of both. Being that it does, it will move viewers both to laughter and to tears throughout the course of its forty-minute run time. It will also teach audiences quite a bit without actually necessarily being a straight forward educational program. For instance, viewers will learn as the program progresses that female pandas are only fertile for roughly three to four days in their fertile periods. Audiences will also learn the shocking statistic of how few pandas currently live on their own in the wild today. That number alone will in itself be enough to keep viewers engaged, almost wanting to cheer for those working to return pandas to the wild in hopes of one day turning things around for pandas, increasing their numbers in the wild. These are a couple of pieces of information included in the presentation that will have audiences watching and thinking all at the same time. There is much more of course that audiences will learn on their own when they purchase the program for themselves. Whether for the noted fact and figures presented here or for the other in-depth information shared throughout, the material in whole shows the importance of the writing in the enjoyment and success of Pandas: The Journey Home. It is only part of what makes the program worth the watch, too. The work of the documentary’s cinematographer(s) adds even more enjoyment to it.
The information shared throughout the course Pandas: The Journey Home makes this presentation well worth the watch by itself. Of course on its own it can only go so far in keeping audiences engaged. That is where the show’s cinematography comes into play. The work of those behind the lens in this documentary is exceptional in its own right. Audiences get stunning views of the mountains in which the panda center resides and of the panda center itself throughout the course of the show. The footage isn’t just formulaic by any means at any point, either. There are aerial shots of the mountains, topped by low-hanging fog and clouds, river flowing below at their bases. There are also shots from ground level of the forests that populate the mountains. The view of the forests from ground level set against the raging river makes for even more “oomph.” On a related note, the footage of the panda center is just as interesting. Audiences don’t just get the standard exterior shots. They also get a first-hand look at the operations of the panda center from caring for the newborn cubs and playing with them as they grow to taking the cubs into the wild and preparing them for their lives on their own outside of the center’s walls. Those charged with capturing the whole thing on camera are to be highly for their work. As audiences will see for themselves, the whole of their filming will move viewers to awe. It collectively makes for yet another way in which Pandas: The Journey Home shows itself to be a worthwhile addition to any classroom and living room.
The work of the camera crew and those that were charged with assembling the information disseminated throughout the program collectively makes Pandas: The Journey Home a journey that audiences of all ages will enjoy whether in the living room or the classroom. For all of the value of the program’s cinematography and writing, none of it would mean anything with pacing that keeps viewers engaged. In the case of this documentary that is exactly what audiences get. Thanks to its collective pacing and related run time, at no point will audiences feel left in the proverbial dust, scratching their heads. Rather each separate segment of the program is given just enough time and attention. The end result of that timing and attention is a forty-minute documentary that feels anything but those forty minutes. It feels far shorter as a matter of fact. That is meant in the best way possible. Being that it keeps viewers fully engaged rather than bored out of their minds, the collective pacing and run time of Pandas: The Journey Home solidifies the documentary’s enjoyment and its place on this year’s list of the year’s best new documentaries.
Pandas: The Journey Home is one of the best of this year’s crop of documentaries. It is a production that is just as valuable and worth the watch in the living room as in the classroom. That is made clear initially via the in-depth information provided by the program. The information in question is a balance of both education and information. The work of those charged with recording its footage makes it even more enjoyable. Thanks to its solid pacing its forty-minute run time feels as if it flies right by all without losing viewers along the way. Because viewers are kept engaged from beginning to end, they will in turn see clearly the importance of the camera crew’s work and that of those charged with assembling the program’s information. All things considered Pandas: The Journey Home proves in the end to be a presentation that is just as valuable of an addition to any classroom or living room setting and a presentation that is one of the best of this year’s crop of new documentaries. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from Virgil Films’ online store at http://www.virgilfilmsent.com/store/product.php?pid=713. More information on this and other titles from Virgil Films is available online now at:
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