Although the DisneyNature documentaries are inconsistent in quality and personally have not liked all of them, there is actually a good deal to admire about all of them. Including the lesser ones, the narration writing and delivery, the content and music has always been variable but what the DisneyNature documentaries have in common is that they look stunning and the animals are so interesting and easy to root for. If a fan of Disney, nature documentaries or both (am in the third category) all are worth a look at least once.
Despite the lowish rating, 'Expedition China' actually struck me as very good. Is it among the best DisneyNature documentaries? No, others are more illuminating perhaps in terms of the footage and are more original. 'Expedition China' is essentially unused footage from 'Born in China' (personally didn't care for that) but should not be dismissed as that. Actually consider it much better, despite being rated lower, with the narration, tone and editing being a big improvement here.
It isn't perfect. Still did think that it was on the rushed and slightly jumpy side in terms of the pace, and if it was a longer length by about 10-15 minutes more that would have improved things.
There are though many big improvements in 'Expedition China'. The narration is vastly superior, it really spoiled 'Born in China' for me but here there were no issues to be found with the way it was written. It treats the material more seriously and honestly without being overly so and leaves it to the footage to entertain instead of trying to be appealing too much to kids and be too jokey. There is a much better sense of knowing which audience to target, without this time trying too hard to appeal to everybody meaning that the tone is much more muddled. Maggie Q's delivery is far more appealing, it is sincere and heart-warming narration while with enough to appeal to those at primary/elementary school age and not being childish. The editing is a lot more succinct and doesn't jump around.
Furthermore, as to be expected, 'Expedition China' is stunningly filmed, cinematic quality, vividly bringing the even more stunning and at times unforgiving scenery to life. It also clearly loves the wonderfully varied animals, as they look so photogenic and when seeing them quite intimately their personalities really shine. Doing so without being too in love with them. The music is grandiose without being overbearing or too dramatic. The footage is both hugely entertaining and immensely charming with no cheese or schmaltz. It's not a tonal muddle either, never is it too childish or sugary.
And while there is a hard-hitting approach to some of the footage to emphasise that animals do have adversity to overcome there isn't anything really too disturbing or too dark. Also really appreciated that there is focus on the crew, very like 'Ghosts in the Mountains' (also rated too low here),and their bits are truly illuminating and one really admires and is inspired by what lengths they go through. They make just as big an impression as the animals, and the balance of the two is more equal than 'Ghosts in the Mountains'.
In conclusion, very good. 8/10
Disneynature invites you on location in some of the world's most remote wildlands with the filmmakers of Born in China. The team traveled great distances, climbed to extreme altitudes and endured brutal conditions to capture tender and exciting moments in the families of pandas, red-crowned cranes, golden monkeys and chiru. Featuring sequences from the film, never-before-seen footage and crew members' stories - share the production's challenges and victories...and a glimpse behind the scenes of a True-Life Adventure.
Uploaded by: FREEMAN