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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Nature > Politics > Oppression > China > Wolf Totem (2015/Sony Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D)

Wolf Totem (2015/Sony Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D)

3D Picture: B+ 2D Picture: A+ Sound: B- Extras: A Film: A-

Chen Zhen (Shaofeng Feng) is sent to live in the Mongolia grasslands for 2 years and to teach the children, but it is he who becomes the student when he learns about wolves and the balance of between man and nature. The Mongolian nomads understand and respect nature and over thousands of years learned how to co-exist with it, but when modernization comes in, Zhen steals a wolf cub, the balance is disturbed. But who will win, man or nature; can he tame the wolf or will nature show it's true colors?

In Jean-Jacques Annaud's Wolf Totem (2015), Zhen was a teacher from the city, but out in the country he learns that wolves are a part of the ecosystem during China's 'cultural revolution' (the one against all culture by Chairman Mao) in 1967. When human poachers over kill the wild gazelles for profit, they takes away the wolves major food source and forces them to hunt human cattle. Science and modernization begins to replace nature. Wisdom is ignored for convenience. Zhen believes man can control nature, but soon discovers nature isn't about laws or rules, it is survive or die ...and they are the ones who are really dying.

This movie was about nature and the people live with them, and the nomads who respect it. It would not be wrong to say people in government and those who are in charge are usually the last ones who should be deciding on how to saving the environment. More likely humans use science to abuse nature, in the end is there more honor following nature solutions and it would have been better to just shoot those in government for making poor decisions because less lives would be lost that way. My only one small critique was all the CGI used in the scenery, while the film was beautiful it made you wonder... what else was fake?

Which brings us to The 1080p 2.35 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition image, using Arri Alexa, RED Epic and 5K 3D in its production, this all-HD production has the problem of needing to show nature as it uses all-electronic means to do so, thus nature is celebrated and a bit denatured at the same time. Annaud has made nature a key of his filmmaking (The Bear, Seven Years In Tibet, Quest For Fire, even Name Of The Rose) giving him the credibility, but as good as the 3D itself can be, your better off with the fine naturalistic 2D presentation that makes demotes the CGI and lets the actual scenery shine.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is good, but on the quiet side often throughout, so only expect so much activity. Extras include four solid featurettes in The Nature of the Wolf, The Director's Adventure, A Look at the Cast, and Respecting the Environment.

- Ricky Chiang & Nicholas Sheffo


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