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Pandas Movie Review

Save the Pandas should be our war cry!

Reviewed by on Aug 16, 2018
Rating: 5 Star Rating

Kidzworld reviews the wonderful IMAX short film Pandas. These beyond cute and fuzzy creatures are endangered and the film celebrates scientists working to save them and black bears too!

By: Lynn Barker

Narrated by Kristen Bell, Pandas in big IMAX format, introduces us to Chengdu Panda Research Base facility in China that focuses on Giant Panda Breeding. Hou Rong, the director of research (they call her “Panda Mom”) oversees the breeding program and has built up quite a population over the years. When pandas become adults however, they have to be introduced into the wild and they aren’t prepared. Scientists watch them carefully and, with help from an American who works with black bear cubs, they learn how to teach and protect the pandas while they try to be “wild” animals for the first time.

Baby panda loves his bottleBaby panda loves his bottleCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Fun At Panda Base

Pandas are losing their bamboo-rich habitat in mountainous China and they are more and more endangered so scientists like wildlife biologists, raise them from cubhood at their research facility. We see them bottle-fed, taught to climb trees, slide down hills and roll around in roughhouse play with each other and humans. Like human babies, the only time they are still and quiet is when they sleep….in an adorable huge pile.

Pile of pandasPile of pandasCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Papa Bear

The pandas raised in captivity know nothing about living in the wild. Their parents were born at the research station too. Hou Rong travels to New Hampshire to learn from Ben Kilham, a.k.a. “Papa Bear”. Ben has been taking in orphaned black bear cubs and reintroducing them to the wild for years and has released 150 of them! He knows how to be a stand-in for bear parents and instructs Hou Rong and her assistant on his methods. We see a bear named Squirty, now grown and with cubs of her own, remembering him in the woods.

Papa Bear with his friend SquirtyPapa Bear with his friend SquirtyCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Qian Qian’s Turn

The most likely, outgoing candidate for release from the Panda Base is Qian Qian (pronounced Chen Chen). Scientists follow her in the wild, teaching what they can and having her learn by experience as well. Rolling around with a 120 pound panda is a job itself. First, the panda is released into a 50 acre nature preserve with a fence. She wears a GPS collar that enables the team to track her when she is finally left alone. She seems to do well and climbs higher to join other pandas.

Love that bamboo!Love that bamboo!Courtesy of Warner Bros.


When the collar reports that Qian Qian hasn’t moved in 24 hours, the scientists search for her, hoping she has not perished in her new environment. It’s a tense search but she is found dehydrated, scared and with infected bite wounds. After being given meds, she climbs down on her own in five days. She is skinny and is taken back to the Panda Base where she is fattened up and recovers. A fence is opened into a new Panda National Park where it is hoped Qian Qian will live, mate and be happy. Will she decide to go through the fence to her new life?

Scientists with Qian Qian in the forestScientists with Qian Qian in the forestCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Wrapping Up

We challenge you to not be charmed by this wonderfully photographed film. You will want to travel to the Chinese Panda Base just to cuddle one of the black and white luvbugs. The Chinese mountain locales are just beautiful, baby pandas are beyond cute and filmmakers David Douglas and Drew Fellman go to impressive, rough, isolated terrain to photograph them in the wild. The black bears in the U.S. are wonderful too.

Filmmaker Fellman with furry friendFilmmaker Fellman with furry friendCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Kristen Bell’s narration is fine and you can tell she loves these furry critters. Music that accompanies panda antics is often funny (like “Do You Wanna Dance”, a classic by the Ramones).

Kristen Bell narrates the movieKristen Bell narrates the movieCourtesy of Warner Bros.

The documentary reminds us just how important the preservation of wonderful endangered species and their native environments is, especially when U.S. government “officials” don’t seem to currently care. After seeing the film you might want to grow up to be a wildlife biologist or the like in order to do your part to preserve all the amazing life on our planet.  We give Pandas five stars.

Pandas Movie Rating: 5

Pandas Movie PosterCourtesy of Warner Bros.

See Pandas in IMAX theaters starting Friday, August 17th

Have Your Say

Do you love pandas? Would you like to make sure they are around in the wild in the future? Talk all things warm and cuddly below by leaving a comment