The Mouse again gets all circle-of-life-y in its latest DisneyNature documentary, this one with John Krasinski low-key narrating a year in the life of various critters in China, including pandas, snow leopards, antelope and monkeys. Predictably, the focus is on humanizing the animals, which may be understandable from a movie storytelling standpoint but continues to fuel the idea that animals are only worth caring about to the extent that they seem like furry versions of us. Additionally, while many of the individual sequences capture fascinating and/or cute animal behavior, the now-traditional post-credits scenes of the filmmakers at work make it hard not to think that it would be even more interesting watching a documentary about the making of these documentaries. The most entertaining of these movies allow a full story to develop from a narrow focus; this one’s wandering eye limits the ability to get immersed in one “protagonist’s” fate. Sure, you’ll get more than your recommended daily allowance of adorableness from a baby panda tumbling and snuggling, but as a motivator for people to embrace protecting the natural world, this one offers the fleeting pleasures of a YouTube video.
Director: Lu Chuan
Writer: David Fowler, Brian Leith, Phil Chapman and Lu Chuan
Producer: Roy Conli, Brian Leith and Phil Chapman
Cast: John Krasinski