Upon leaving the IMAX theater after witnessing Island of Lemurs: Madagascar one thing becomes clear. After the success of their nature doc Born to be Wild – also narrated by Morgan Freeman -- director David Douglas and writer Drew Fellman clearly have a successful formula for engaging audiences, entertaining them and most importantly, spurring us to action.
As Island of Lemurs: Madagascar begins, the dulcet-toned man who should narrate everything, Freeman, informs us that lemurs were the only animal species to survive the catastrophic asteroid blast that wiped out the dinosaurs. After a massive storm drove them clinging to trees from the continent of Africa to the nearby island of Madagascar, they have lived there pretty peacefully for millions of years.
Then, man arrived and as humans have done pretty much everywhere they go, they produced a landscape that is increasingly more hostile to nature and as such, many of Madagascar’s lemurs are endangered.
The fact that there are dozens of subspecies of lemurs is just one facet of knowledge that is imparted in the short documentary that was not known before. The other is that these creatures are only found on the island of Madagascar and nowhere else on Earth. Therefore, if they are run out of Madagascar by man’s advancement, the lemur will be gone… forever.
Douglas gives the audience a human face to the situation in Dr. Patricia C. Wright. The woman has devoted much of her life to studying lemurs as well as bringing news of their endangered plight to the world.
There is no bigger platform Wright could have than an IMAX nature documentary that does an uncanny job of introducing the world to lemurs, giving a history lesson as to where they came from, sociology instruction as to how they interact and a scientific lesson about how the encroachment of man has brought many of them to the brink of extinction.
And all this is accomplished in under an hour, all while being greatly entertaining with a vibrant musical score and scenes that will have you going back and forth between uttering “too cute” and literally laughing out loud at the lemurs and their unbridled joy of life.
And with Freeman and Wright trading the duties of progressing the story of Island of Lemurs: Madagascar, it is a priceless one-two punch presented on the human side of the story. And that is key to the lemurs' survival.
Yes, this is a family film that will have the kids clamoring to learn more about lemurs. But, it also is a movie that will have everyone who sees it yearning to do something to help these adorable creatures find a way to live another several million years.
Our Island of Lemurs: Madagascar review finds that with Earth Day coming soon, there can be no better way to celebrate it than by experiencing this film -- and then promptly discovering how you can help.
Want to see what Freeman, Fellman and Douglas did before? Watch Born to be Wild online.