Amazing Panda Adventure, The
A present day drama set in the towering forests of China, The Little Panda is a touching story of a boy and his father who are reunited for the summer at a Panda Reserve in China. Dr. Michael Tyler has been in charge of the panda reserve for the last two years. He has not seen his son, Ryan, since he and Ryan's mother divorced two years ago. Ryan receives an airline ticket to visit his father at the Panda Reserve in China. When Ryan arrives, however, his father, Michael, is not there to meet him. Ryan notices a bus with the Panda Reserve logo on the side, so hitches a ride with the Panda Reserve Committee. Upon Ryan's arrival at the reserve, his father is about to take off with his assistants to locate a mother bear with a tracking collar and her cub. Dr. Tyler tells Ryan to stay in their room until he returns. Ryan refuses to stay alone and insists on going along. His father concedes, and off they go. Dr. Tyler, Ryan and the assistants locate the mother bear who has been caught in a steel-clawed trap. They see the poachers who run off with the crying cub. One of the poachers shoots Dr. Tyler in the leg. Ling, an interpreter for Dr. Tyler, and her Grandfather Chu, radio for a helicopter to rescue Dr. Tyler and the mother bear who is in need of medical help as a result of her leg being injured in the trap. There is not enough room in the helicopter, so Ryan stays behind with Ling and Grandpa, an old time tracker who also works at the reserve. After waiting for awhile, Ling and Grandpa want to find the Panda cub as quickly as possible as the cub still needs his mother. Ryan doesn't want to go because his father told him to stay there and he's afraid he'll miss the helicopter that comes back for him. Shortly after Ling and Grandpa leave him, Ryan sits on a rock, looks down and sees a snake coiling. He runs off yelling for the others to wait. He finds Ling and Grandpa, but has to run across a wobbly rope bridge to get to them. He is unaware that a bull is right behind him, chasing him. Two poachers are out for the bear hides, but when they see the cub, they steal it instead, which will bring a lot of money from a zoo. The baby cries and cries for his mom as the poachers carry him to their hideout. Grandpa Chu finds the poacher's hideout and the three of them sneak up to the camp. No one is around, but they find the baby panda in a cage and are able to rescue him. Just as they are leaving the poacher's camp, the poachers return to see Ling, Grandpa Chu with the baby and Ryan, leaving. Grandpa Chu hands the baby cub to Ling and takes off for the reserve to get help. The poachers attempt to chase the group, but Ling quickly turns around and shoots one of the men with her tranquilizer gun. They must hurry back to the reserve as the baby needs his mother's milk and his mother who is grieving for her baby, is refusing to eat. Ling and Ryan, with the baby Panda, attempt to flag down the helicopter, but it never spots them. They get up to the rope bridge and Ling, still holding the baby, is shot at by one of the poachers who has caught up to her. She falls on the bridge and drops the baby. The baby whines, so Ryan picks him up and carries him for awhile, but the bridge collapses and down they go into the raging rapids. Ryan is able to hold on to the baby. Ling, who has been right behind Ryan and the baby, can't swim. While in the water, they run into some rocks. The baby clings to Ryan as they then go down a waterfall. They all reach the shore safely, however. Later they are sitting in the meadow resting with the baby panda who is playing with tree branches and whining for his mother. In the meantime, Michael, Ryan's father, plays with the mother bear in hopes that she will eat something, but she misses her baby too much. Ryan wants the reserve to close so his dad will come home with him. He tries to release the baby panda in the wild to fend for herself. The baby, however, doesn't know how to fend for itself so Ryan goes back for the baby. As they continue on their way back to the reserve, once again, they get caught in the middle of another raging river. They even manage to go down another waterfall, as Ling and the baby hold on to Ryan for dear life. When they come up on land again, Ling and Ryan are covered with leeches. They take their clothes off and stand in the river freezing. Neither Ryan or Ling will go to wash the clothes. The baby just sits and watches them, playing with his mother's tracking collar, the collar which Dr. Tyler had previously put on the mother bear, and which was found at the poacher's camp when they rescued the baby.. Ling and Ryan manage to get free of the leeches and get their clothes clean and they are soon on their way again. It is now obvious that they're lost. They find a watch and take the battery out of it and fix the tracking collar. They come upon a Tibetan Shrine and meet a man who rescues the three of them and takes them to his village where they are all welcome, but the baby gets special attention. The villagers think the baby Panda is good luck for them. They celebrate with songs and dance. In the meantime, Michael and Grandpa Chu are searching for Ling, Ryan and the baby. The baby sits on a rock and refuses to eat. He misses his mother. Ryan and Ling along with the baby panda, spend the night in the village. The baby is getting weaker and weaker because he won't eat. The baby just lies on the bed. Ryan gets him a bottle of medicine but the baby won't take it. We see a close up of the baby as he sleeps restlessly in the night. In the meantime, Ryan and Ling name the baby "Johnny" after Ryan's friend. Ling tells him that in Chinese, "Johnny" means the best in the forest. The next day, as Ling and Ryan sleep, the poachers show up looking for the baby. The chief of the village denies any knowledge of the three, including the baby. After the poachers leave, the chief hides Ling, Ryan and the baby in bags. The villagers put the three bags into a horse-drawn cart. As they are carried out of the village, a flock of sheep crosses the road. At just that time, the baby jumps out of his bag and hides among the sheep. The poachers see him and run after him. Just in time, Ryan grabs the baby. The horse is spooked and runs off, losing the cart. The cart runs downhill and throws the three out. Johnny is getting weaker and weaker when they see the Four Sisters Mountain Reserve ahead of them. Johnny is dying. Grandpa Chu and Michael are just on the other side of Four Sisters Mountain Reserve. Ling is carrying Johnny who can no longer hold his head up. Ling is afraid Johnny is about to die. Ryan will not allow him to die. The poachers are still trying to get Johnny. Michael sees them climbing the mountain as well as the poachers behind them. Meanwhile, back at the reserve, Johnny's mom is in her cage. She is also weak from not eating. Ling and Ryan are almost to the top of the ledge, with the baby in a backpack on Ryan's back. The poachers are still behind them and gaining. Ryan stumbles and Johnny falls into a tree which is inhabited with birds. As Johnny lands, the birds fly off. Ling falls over the cliff as well. Michael reaches them and rescues Ling, while Ryan rescues the baby, Johnny, who is still in a backpack in the tree. Michael grabs Ryan just before he falls with Johnny. Once they are off the mountain and safe, Ling holds Johnny while Michael hugs his son. They drive back in a tractor cart with Grandpa Chu driving. Once again, they stop to allow a flock of sheep to cross the road. Grandpa Chu, Michael, Ling and Ryan with Johnny arrive at the reserve and Ryan grabs Johnny and runs to the mother bear. Momma bear cries she's so happy and cuddles her baby. Johnny is so happy he's home safe and they both start eating again. Michael hires Ryan to watch over Johnny and his mom until they are healed and ready to go back in the wild. During the entire film we see a group of Chinese men in suits coming and going to the Panda Reserve on the reserve's bus. We later find that the reserve has been subsidized by the Chinese government, but it is the time of year when the Committee must decide whether or not to continue subsidizing the reserve. The reserve's main position to the Committee had been that they were observing the Mother and Baby Panda. However, the bears disappeared the day that The Committee was to view the bears. Not only did the Committee not see the bears, but Michael was also missing. Now that the Mother and Baby Panda bear were back, the Committee agreed to subsidize the reserve for another year.
- Starring: Stephen Lang, Ryan Slater and Yi Ding
- Director(s): Chris Cain
- Producer(s): Lee Rich Company, Little P. Productions
- Screenwriter(s): John Wilcox, Steven Alldredge
- Distributor: Warner Brothers, Inc.
- Release Date: Tuesday, April 04, 1995
- Rating: Believed Acceptable
Featured Animal Action
The baby panda was seen throughout the film in mainly mild action. However, there are also some scenes where stunts were performed. Toward the beginning of the film, the mother bear is trapped in a steel-clawed trap. She is rescued and transported to the compound in a helicopter. These scenes with the mother bear were accomplished with an animatronic bear. In the next scene, as Ryan and Ling, with the baby bear walk back across the wobbly rope bridge, the poachers shoot at Ling who drops the baby. To accomplish this scene, stuffed pandas affectionately known as "stuffies" were used. Ryan then picks up the baby and continues on across the bridge. However, before they can get across the bridge, it collapses and the three fall down into the raging rapids below. The baby clings to Ryan who never lets go of it. In another scene, they fall back into the rapids, also floating down a waterfall. For these two scenes the stuffies were used. In another scene, the poachers appear to spook the horse that is pulling the cart with the three of them in garbage bags. To accomplish this scene, the wrangler merely said "giddyup" and the horse took off running. For the scene where the three of them fall off the cart still in the garbage bags, a stuffie and two dummies were used. Prior to the three arriving at the Four Sisters Mountain Reserve, Ling is carrying the baby bear, who can barely hold his head up. The animatronic was used for this scene which shows the baby's head resting on Ling's shoulder. As they climb to the Four Sisters Mountain Reserve, Ryan, who once again has the baby in the back pack, stumbles and then falls down into a tree below in which some birds are inhabiting. In this scene, an animatronic bear cub was used. The birds, acquired by the Chinese government, were simply released into the wild to fly free. The sound of the baby panda whining and crying was dubbed in during the post production. Additional animal action included a snake coiling next to the rock where Ryan was sitting. For this scene a snake handler merely positioned the snake by the rock. A bull is also seen chasing Ryan across the wobbly rope bridge. This scene was filmed in cuts. In actuality, the bull never got near the bridge. It was filmed separately and went to the edge of the bridge only. The flock of sheep that walked across the road and back, were provided by local shepherds. The leeches that clinged to Ryan and Ling were rubber.