It started on my Facebook feed with a friend liking the post of someone I didn’t know. The post was about a viral youtube clip being made into a movie. The clip – Sneezing Baby Panda. The film – Sneezing Baby Panda: The Movie. So thanks to this Facebook like I got to see a movie I may never have known about otherwise.
The movie, made by the two Australian documentary filmmakers who shot the original footage, is an unusual blend of documentary and fiction. The film is about an Australian zoologist and her struggling zoo. When she sees the footage of the sneezing baby panda on youtube, she decides to travel to China and bring back Chi Chi, the grown up sneezing baby panda. She hopes this will encourage more visitors to come to her zoo. The grown up Chi Chi is played by the famous American born panda Tai Shan.
While it was fun it was also jolting. In between the fiction fun there was documentary information about pandas. The hardest bit to sit through was the footage of the devastating earthquake that hit the Sichuan Province in May, 2008. The damage wrought by the earthquake was immense. One of the many places destroyed was the Woolong Panda Research Centre. Sadly one of the pandas, Mao Mao, was crushed to death in her enclosure. In the film Mao Mao is supposed to be the mother in the Sneezing Baby Panda clip. I’m not sure if this is true or simply a way to bring Mao Mao into the film. That is one of the issues with melding documentary with fiction – you are not quite sure what is real information and what isn’t. But, I am pretty sure that the panda surfing and jumping a shark is not based on fact! So while the film is mostly funny, those of us who remember Mao Mao will be saddened by the reminder of her tragic death. Australia’s Adelaide Zoo panda Wang Wang is Mao Mao’s son. I can’t help but remember his mother whenever I see him.
Today is Mother’s Day and I thought I would pay tribute to all the mothers in the wild and in captivity who are doing their job and making sure our beloved animals continue roaming our beautiful planet – our Mother Earth.