The IMAX documentary film MOUNTAIN GORILLA is a straightforward, understated family portrait of the great apes that roam the mountains of Rawanda, Uganda and Zaire in Central Africa. Framed with a brief but interesting history of their discovery in the 1920’s by German explorers, most of this film merely allows us to watch the various members of a family group in their simple routines of feeding, playing, baby care, and occasional conflict over hierarchical status. A number of zoologists have lived among the gorillas, which were decimated by poachers before receiving government protection. A few of the current students of gorilla behavior are shown going about their daily activities, a quiet counterpoint to the simians who by now seem oblivious to them. A few of the animals venture onto local farms which border their mountain homelands, but the response of villagers is calm, apparently tempered both by regulations and by the reassuring presence of park officials who work to protect humans and gorillas from one another.
Overall, MOUNTAIN GORILLA lets the images speak for themselves without any overbearing message. The fact that these animals are scarce and their protection is a worthwhile endeavor is stated simply in words and profoundly in pictures.
(E) Interesting close-up footage of rare African gorillas; and, low-key & appropriate discussion of the importance of preserving this species.