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Growing Up Wild (2016)

Travel to the wildest corners of the planet as five courageous animals tackle the very first challenges of their young lives. With a little guidance from sage family members, each must figure out how to find food and recognize danger.


David Fowler, Simon Nash (story by)


Daveed Diggs




Credited cast:
Daveed Diggs ... Narrator (voice)


Life is an adventure - especially for a newborn animal who has so much to learn. "Growing Up Wild" takes audiences to the wildest corners of the planet to tell the tales of five courageous animals as they tackle the very first challenges of their young lives. With a little guidance from sage family members, each must figure out how and where to find food, while learning to recognize the very real threat of danger. From their first steps of exploring their world to their final steps into independence, "Growing Up Wild" reveals the triumphs and setbacks of five young lives in which instinct, parental lessons, and trial & error ultimately define their destinies. Featuring the stunning imagery and iconic storytelling that makes Disneynature's big-screen adventures an inspiring movie-going experience, "Growing Up Wild", brings home a special look at how similar and different these young lives can be. Written by (C) 2016 Disney Enterprises

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newborn | See All (1) »




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Edited from African Cats (2011) See more »

User Reviews

In the intimate wild
21 December 2020 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

While some DisneyNature documentaries are better than others, they are mostly very interesting and a common factor is that they are extremely well made. As well as having amazing animals. When it comes to the music and the narration (writing and delivery), those are the aspect where the quality is variable. Saw 'Growing Up Wild' for DisneyNature documentary completest sake, as well as being a great fan of nature documentaries, Disney in general and the intimate approach to the storytelling.

'Growing Up Wild' does have a couple of major drawbacks with the narration and pacing, among the worst DisneyNature documentaries at both. But on the other hand, in terms of emotional impact, charm and relatability 'Growing Up Wild' is among the better DisneyNature documentaries in my view. So when ranking these documentaries it is somewhere around high middle. It is not quite as well known as other DisneyNature documentaries but does deserve to be better known.

Really do have to agree with the narration bringing things down significantly. Not the actual writing, which was informative and had enough entertaining and sincere moments when it was not reminding us about what the animals were feeling. But more the delivery of it in how it is spoken, Daveed Diggs just doesn't sound right. This material needed a more authoritative, subtle and sympathetic approach, Diggs came over at times as somewhat sarcastic and condescended rather than engaged.

The pacing isn't always perfect, with some transitions lacking smoothness from the pacing being rushed and jumpy in spots. If there was a little less content those problems wouldn't be there.

Have no complaints with everything else though. Like all the other DisneyNature documentaries, 'Growing Up Wild' looks fantastic. Really appreciated the intimate approach to the photography, which made the more emotional scenes more powerful and made it even easier to relate to the baby animals and how they were feeling in difficult situations. The scenery is lovely as always while having an element of cruelty at times to show that nature is not just cute animals in beautiful environments. The music doesn't try to be too jaunty or too grandiose, really don't like it when any music in documentaries tries to be too playful, too contemporary or over-emphasises the emotions and 'Growing Up Wild' just about avoided those things.

While having issues with Diggs' delivery, the writing did inform and intrigue. Taking the subject seriously, without doing it too overtly. The footage and scenarios are fascinating to watch and there are plenty of charming and moving scenes, such as the lion cub calling and a particularly intimate and beautifully simple scene with the macaque. It is not just cute though as 'Growing Up Wild' manages to not hold back on its portrayal of wildlife struggles, while not doing it in a too in your face or manipulative way and to me certainly not in a way that is too traumatising. The violence is uncompromising but didn't to me come over as too sadistic. It does disturb but it really makes one think too. The animals are adorable and very easy to root for, as are their very charming and poignant scenarios that have enough time devoted to each to not feel underdeveloped.

Summing up, good but not great. So many fantastic things but do have to agree that a better narrator was needed. 7/10

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

8 December 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Growing Up Wild See more »

Filming Locations:

Alaska, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Disneynature See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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