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Movie Review: A Reindeer’s Journey

 

Opening in select theaters this Friday (November 15th) in New York City, and On Demand November 19th, is the beautiful documentary, A Reindeer’s Journey. I believe the film will be available on DVD on November 26th.

The film is narrated by Donald Sutherland, and was directed by Guillaume Maidatchevsky.

With the holiday season fast approaching, A Reindeer’s Journey would make for a delightful movie to usher in the season. After all, the film is about a reindeer, and as you know, Santa needs his reindeer to pull his sled to deliver presents around the world. However, this film is about a REAL reindeer, and his name is Ailo.

I really love watching nature documentaries, most especially ones like Planet Earth, Blue Planet, Frozen Earth and Disneynature films (Bears, Oceans, Chimpanzee…). I had no doubt that I would enjoy this movie just as much.

Growing up, I always wanted a pet reindeer. Of course, I was hoping it was a magical one that could fly. I still wouldn’t mind a pet reindeer. I think they are beautiful creatures.

This film takes place in Lapland (Finland), at the edge of the arctic circle.

Ailo (eye-ee-low) was born early, before his mother was able to make it down to the spring pastures from the snowy mountain tops. Thankfully he is born perfectly healthy. Sadly, half of the reindeer born in this part of the world will never make it to their first birthday.

Did you know that a reindeer has 5 minutes to learn how to stand when it is born, 5 minutes to learn how to walk and another 5 minutes to learn how to run and swim? They have to. It’s a matter of survival. It takes me longer than give minutes just to get out of bed in the morning.

Along Ailo’s perilous journey to survive into adulthood, he meets many of the creatures native to that part of the world, such as a snowy owl, arctic fox, lemming and a stout (it looks like a weasel), as well as more common creatures like a squirrel, bear and wolves. There is even a wolverine. Those things are SCARY!

The film does go off from time to time and focuses on the other critters in the film, but eventually the film goes back to Ailo and the other reindeer in his group.

There are some spectacular shots of the northern lights too. It’s on my “Bucket List” to see them in person.

This film has a run time of 86 minutes (just shy of an hour and a half).

A real reindeer’s life is not filled with candy canes and sugar plums. It’s a daily life or death struggle to survive. They face so many challenges, from out running predators, to finding food, and trying to survive some of the harshest weather conditions on Earth. Reindeer are amazing creatures. They deserve to be praised for their survival skills. How they can live through the winter is incredible.

After you see this film, you will have new found admiration and respect for reindeer. I know I do.

For the most part, this film is endearing, with shots of adorable creatures. On the flip side, this movie also documents how scary it is when predators are on the hunt to collect their next meal. I prefer looking at cute creatures. I’m not a fan of watching animals being hunted down and killed. I know it’s the circle of life, but at the same time, I don’t like to think about it, let alone see it in action. I literally close my eyes so I don’t have to watch it all play out.

There are plenty of gorgeous nature shots throughout the film, from trees engulfed in snow, to breathtaking fjords. The cinematography is outstanding.

This film is not a ho-ho-ho Merry Christmas film. In fact, it has nothing to do with Christmas except it’s about a reindeer, and people often associate the two.

If you are interested in learning more about this film, click here. If you are in New York City, look for it at a theater near you, otherwise you can look for the film On Demand, or on DVD (coming soon).

Below is the film’s trailer for your entertainment.

 

Kimberly

*I received a free online screener link in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family and "mini zoo" consisting of five cats, a dog and a Goldfish. Kimberly is a teacher's assistant for a Kindergarten class. When she is not working or blogging, Kimberly enjoys taking photos of nature and hanging out with family and friends.

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