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Ultimate Pandas
Ultimate Pandas
Director: Gerry Ellis
Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
NR     2007     1hr 33min

Get up close and personal with Xiao Lei Lei and her friends, the world's most adorable panda cubs. Ultimate Pandas is a new kind of nature program featuring over 90 minutes of panda watching, panda music videos, and cutest...  more »


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Movie Details

Director: Gerry Ellis
Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
Studio: DVD International
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 09/25/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 33min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Terrific for kids -- and grown-up panda lovers too
F. Guthrie | Washington, DC USA | 10/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There's a lot to love about this wonderful DVD -- starting with the footage itself. It was apparently shot at a panda breeding program in a nature preserve in the Chinese mountains where pandas live in the wild. Because it's a captive breeding program, the cameraman can get incredibly close to the younger cubs as they eat, climb, play and explore; and even shoot the older, more rambunctious "teenage" pandas from a reasonably close vantage point. You as a viewer are right there, looking in their eyes, hearing their odd little grunts and whimpers, almost feeling their breath. But since it's also a nature preserve in the mountains, the scenery and setting are quite spectacular. You get the best of both worlds: the scenery of a nature documentary, with the up-close-and-personal footage of a zoo video.

Secondly, there's the way the soundtrack is handled. You can choose three different "panda guide" soundtracks -- for younger kids, older kids (about 9-12), or adults -- or no guide at all. For each version, there are actual kids or adults interacting with the filmmaker, so it's not some producer's idea of what kids might want to know, it's what kids actually want to know. The filmmaker handles each different group respectfully and directly. He doesn't condescend to the kids, or overwhelm them with too much information. The interactions also don't seem scripted (the children's laughter is unmistakably genuine), so you ending up learning different things with each different soundtrack. This isn't a real science-intensive production, but you do learn quite a bit about pandas' lifecycles, how they live in the wild and how the captive breeding program works.

Watching without any guide is also surprisingly enjoyable. You just hear the actual sounds of the preserve: birds and those odd baby panda noises. There are also 5 charming songs by a performer with an oddly appropriate middle name, paired with footage that's mostly different from the rest of the DVD. You can see the lyrics onscreen if your kids want to sing along.

In the end, though, you'll be watching this for the pandas themselves -- incredibly clear, close enough to touch. The cubs are absolutely irresistible as they shuffle around, play with each other, tumble over themselves and explore their world. It's just impossible to watch this and not smile!
A peaceful, happy time with pandas
J. Loren | Portland, OR United States | 09/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"First, I love pandas, so its hard to be unbiased, but the ultimate pandas dvd is very different from everything I have ever seen - its not "sciency" but feels more like you are there, immersed in a forest world of baby pandas, not a zoo - I loved it. It's the first time I had seen pandas in a wild-like setting that wasn't a pbs nature show. The dvd has a special kids narration that was a great idea - my kids loved it!! Some people might think it is too kid friendly, but it's hard to watch these little pandas and not feel like a kid - so I thought it was wonderful. The music song track is definitely for little kids and repetitive so little kids will probably like the sing-a-long factor; adults will probably want to pass it by. I highly recommend it if you are a parent or grandparent who just wants wonderful non-violent nature entertainment for your kids. And for the price it is a fantastic gift!"
Undeniably adorable
Renee | 09/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you love pandas, you'll revel in the up close and frisky footage of possibly the world's cutest creatures. Even a determined curmudgeon will smile at these cubs frolicking on a panda preserve in the gorgeous mountains of SW China. The DVD gives you a choice of soundtracks: a Q & A between photojournalist Gerry Ellis and younger children, older children or adults. Or you can opt for silence for the pure panda experience. Artist Laurie Smith's delightful illustrations perfectly capture the giant bears in playful and thoughtful moments."
Great Kids' Movie
M. Barager | Danville, KY USA | 10/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This DVD is a great choice if you are looking for something fun and educational for your children. One of the best features is the different types of audio you can listen to while you watch, each geared toward a different age-group. Thanks to "younger kids", "older kids" and "adults" narration, everyone and anyone can enjoy learning about and watching these pandas. If you want to see some cute and amazing pandas, this is the DVD for you! The sing-along songs are also really fun :)"