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Blu-ray 3D Release: Wolf Totem

December 22, 2015

By John Corrado

Wolf Totem Blu-rayLast week, Sony Pictures released acclaimed director Jean-Jacues Annaud’s Wolf Totem on Blu-ray 3D.  Taking place during China’s Cultural Revolution, the story follows Chen Zhen (Shaofeng Feng), a young student who is sent to live with the herdsman in Mongolia.

Although their livestock face threats from the surrounding wolves, the villagers have found ways to live symbiotically, and maintain mutual respect between the species.  But when an act of greed leads to the domineering authorities ordering a cull, the balance of the land is severely thrown off, leading Chen Zhen to rescue an abandoned wolf pup.

Like in his previous nature-themed films The Bear and Two Brothers, veteran filmmaker Jean-Jacues Annaud crafts another narrative adventure that uses wild animals to tells its story, to captivating and sometimes awe-inspiring affect.  The cinematography in Wolf Totem is consistently breathtaking, using cutting edge technology to capture both the beauty and untamed wild of the expansive landscapes, through a mix of high drama and quiet emotion.

The story is deceptively simple, laden with thought provoking allegories about restoring balance to the natural world, and exploring the cultural traditions of Inner Mongolia, at a time when their way of life is being threatened by encroaching civilization and the influences of the west.  These themes are beautifully mirrored by the majesty of the wolves, who are facing their own upheaval on the part of the interfering humans.  Although sensitive viewers might find the graphic animal violence too much, Wolf Totem is a grand and visually stunning nature drama, rich with subtext behind the spectacular 3D images.

The Blu-ray also has four short featurettes, including a worthwhile look at the production’s strive to be environmentally sustainable, and a fascinating glimpse into how the wolves were trained to follow cues, while still retaining their wild tendencies.  The way the camera captures them is incredible.

Wolf Totem is 121 minutes and rated PG.

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