Africa's Elephant Kingdom

  • 1998
  • 40 MIN
  • NR
  • Documentary

This IMAX extravaganza takes us places we rarely get to go -- except maybe on the Nature channel -- exploring issues of biodiversity and species continuity and the emotional lives of animals through the world's largest land mammals, elephants. Writer-director Michael Caulfield tells the story from the point of view of an ancient elephant who, born around...read more

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Reviewed by Sandra Contreras
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This IMAX extravaganza takes us places we rarely get to go -- except maybe on the Nature channel -- exploring issues of biodiversity and species continuity and the emotional lives of animals through the world's largest land mammals, elephants.

Writer-director Michael Caulfield tells the story from the point of view of an ancient elephant who, born around 1940, his team dubs "Old Bull." Old Bull's "narration," calculated to appeal to the kids who'll inevitably see this film at natural history museums and zoos across the country, is read

by actor Avery Brooks (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) and definitely errs on the pompous side. But that said, the African elephants' struggle for survival is as moving a story as can be told. The IMAX team trails an elephant family, led by their matriarch, through Kenya's Amboseli National

Park, where elephants have roamed for hundreds of years. Some of the most effective and exhilarating footage is the risky close-up stuff, like an angry matriarch charging straight at the camera, but there's also stunning footage of waterfalls, expansive plains and mountains. Old Bull tells us

about the catastrophic ivory trade that has decimated the elephant population, and the harsh droughts that prey on the weak older and younger members of the elephant herds. One such drought occasions the poignant passage (warning: it may upset young children) in which an elephant calf dies as his

distraught mother persists in trying to nudge him back to his feet. The raw emotion on screen when the rest of the elephants hasten to console her is heartbreaking.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This IMAX extravaganza takes us places we rarely get to go -- except maybe on the Nature channel -- exploring issues of biodiversity and species continuity and the emotional lives of animals through the world's largest land mammals, elephants. Writer-dire… (more)

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