I attended a screening for editorial purposes.
It’s no lie, I was obsessed with the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s Giant Panda cub named Bei Bei, so much so that I traveled 3,000 miles to see him! Giant Pandas are the epitome of cuteness and my dream job would be to cuddle with them in China. Until then (I can always dream right??), I’ve been learning about the species and their struggle by watching movies such as “Pandas” to understand their struggle in the wild.
Pandas 3D Imax is currently playing at the California Science Center until September 3. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or online. The film is filled with sweet moments as we see adorable panda cubs tumble down slides and climb and fall from trees. Sadly, there are only around 2000 pandas left in the wild. Their population is declining because of habitat destruction and lack of proper food. Way to go humans!
Scientist Hou Rong has invested her entire career to the welfare of these animals at the Chengdu Research Base in China. The center has bred over 200 panadas which is promising but their main dilemma is how to release the cubs into the wild. She connects with wildlife biologist Ben Kilham (located in New Hampshire) who has successfully returned orphaned black bear cubs to the wild. With his guidance and a team of scientists, Rong returns to China with Kilham and her new knowledge to select one of the cubs at the reserve to work on releasing her to nature.
The movie Pandas 3D is a heartfelt story leaving you rooting for the Qian Qian the chosen panda. Sadly after a couple months of release, the cub seemed depressed and needed to be rescued. The narrator shares that they will try again when Qian Qian is ready.
It’s a hopeful ending but bittersweet. These pandas are being raised by humans. Maybe the bond is too strong? Pandas are solitary animals so I’m not sure why it had a hard time transitioning or maybe like some human children, she just wasn’t ready to leave the nest.
Pandas 3D looks beautiful on the Imax screen. The mountainous landscape in the movie is stunning and left me wanting to visit the pandas even more. Seeing the movie will set you up for a teachable moment and discussion with your family. What can we do to help these endangered animals? How can we learn from this film and what steps can we make to reserve the damage? There are a ton of educational as well as humorous scenes. My daughter was cracking up when the scientists fed and played with the babies. And we, of course, swooned over these gorgeous animals!
The film is 40 minutes, Rated G and narrated by Kristen Bell who played a princess named Ana from Frozen. =)
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