"Kenya 3D Animal Kingdom," the new presentation at the Minnesota Zoo's Great Clips IMAX theater, is a cheery travelogue visit to one of the planet's greatest nature sanctuaries. There's no eat-your-spinach guilt-tripping here about impending extinctions or the global thermostat, just a wide-eyed appreciation of a beautiful region and its amazing menagerie.
Director Jean-Jacques Mantello delivers some fun footage -- there's a stomach-fliping strike by a cranky viper straight at the camera -- and great animal portraiture. The big safari attractions are all accounted for here: lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards and cape buffalo. But there's also a nice sequence on the massive flamingo population in the Loita Hills' lakes. (Side note: a mass of flamingos is actually termed a flamboyance. How cool is that?)
The 40-minute film might have been strengthened by a unifying story. The link between scenes here is a pair of handsomely costumed locals walking around and taking a gander at the animal goings-on. A few dinnerfime scenes of predators, vultures and hyenas stripping carcasses might rile sensitive young vegans, but that's life. In the end, it's like a trip to Earth's greatest zoo, with no cages separating you from the wild beasts.
The film opens Friday, March 8. Yhe Minnesota Zoo is located at 12000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley. Schedules and ticket information are available at bit.ly/10dnoJd