Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
I quite liked the cover, with each of the 4 babies featured in a swatch across the cover. The use of the different colors for each of the backgrounds really adds tot he difference of each one’s surroundings in the movie. Each of these babies is being raised in a different way, and each benefits from their own experience. They are all being raised in the best way their parents know how, and each turns out just fine in the end.
The menu is the classic Universal black background with scenes of the movie playing.
- The Babies Three Years Later – We get to see the babies three years later, when the movie makers return to do a little check up on each of the pint size stars. It is interesting to see the change, and even more interesting was seeing their reaction to watching the video of the movie. This is a very nice extra, but it runs only 4 minutes total.
- Everybody Loves… Your Babies Sweepstakes Winners – This is just a collection of photos and home movies that were went in for a contest that ran when the movie was being made. Cute, but short at just over 2 minutes.
The Movie: 7/10
Babies is a strange little documentary that follows 4 different babies in 4 different regions of the world. We are introduced to Ponijao from the African nation of Namibia, who is basically raised in the wild outdoor heat of the African desert. We also meet Bayar from Mongolia, Mari from Tokyo, and Hattie who is being raised in San Francisco. Of course, location means everything as these babies are shown during their first year of life.
Babies is not given a voiceover, and the video is stark views of daily life. There are no real “events” staged here, just scenes as the babies go about their every day routine. The stark difference in their upbringing is really what is the main focus here. The stark contrast between the plush surroundings in the United States and Japan, versus the minimum resources in Namibia, and to a lesser extent Mongolia are truly amazing. Ponijao is raised out in the elements, surrounded by animals and playing in the dirt of Namibia, while Hattie and Mari are left wanting nothing. Bayar is also without some of the advancements that we in the states take for granted, but all 4 babies are given a warm environment which adds to their development.
Each of these 4 babies are cute and curious, and the charm of this movie is simply in watching them deal with their expanding worlds in their own ways. The movie at times can be a bit slow, but the joy is in watching these babies as they mature, and are allowed to mature, in their own way. They (like their parents) know of no other way to raise their babies, and each adapts and takes advanteage of what they are given. The result is 4 very happy, very cute, little kids.
Audio & Video: 8/10
While the video is stunning in high definition, the audio accompanying the video is adequate, but hardly uses the true depth of the media. By saying that, I do not mean that the audio was bad, because it is not, but this is a documentary without dialogue, and the sounds of the documentary are not beefed up and their are no explosions or wicked effects to showcase the Blu-ray, which is to be expected. The audio is simply the audio. The video is crisp and does showcase the massive differences between the 4 different regions where these babies are raised.
This is a neat little documentary to watch. It is not for everyone, as those who don’t have kids may not want to spend a full hour and a half watching 4 babies, without dialogue or real direction. I enjoyed the movie, and so did my family, as many will, but overall this is not a movie I will watch over and over again. The production value is high, and the end result is one where everyone must take stock of where they live and enjoy it to the fullest, as some are not as privileged as we are. Having said that, it is amazing to see the development of the 4 babies progress basically at the same time and in the same fashion, regardless of their surroundings.
Overall Score 5/10