The Last Lions – movie review

March 16, 2011  By: Gretchen

I’m just back from a screening of The Last Lions and I’m still breathless. The movie tells the story of a lioness and her cubs and their struggle to survive in the African bush. It also paints a picture of the need for conservation, as lion numbers have decreased from 450,000 just 50 years ago, to around 20,000 today. With the constant expansion of human settlements and encroachment on to once protected lands, lions are more threatened than ever before. The cinematography in the movie is absolutely stunning. The images have an almost still photo quality about them, but are brought to life in a way that keeps the viewer at the edge of their seat for the entire movie. From the quiet beauty of the Okavango Delta landscape, to the images of birds skimming the waters for fish, or capturing the erie nighttime fog surrounding an enormous herd of Cape Buffalo; this is National Geographic at its best. The story itself is more tense than I thought possible; over 90 minutes of intense action in the lives of this little lion family. This movie is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for young children or those sensitive to the occasional violence seen in nature. It is however for lovers of Africa, its wildlife and nature in general. It is typical of National Geographic and does not shy away from difficult images or an unhoped for result in nature, so be prepared. The other bit of magic worth mentioning is the sound. Sitting in the theatre (even one with a somewhat dated sound system) made me feel like I was in the bush. The morning sounds of African birds, the nighttime sounds of hippos and insects, buffalo marching through the tall grass…it’s all there invading your senses and takes you straight to the African wilderness. Kudos to National Geographic and Dereck and Beverly Joubert for making a masterpiece. Feel free to share your thoughts on the film with us on Facebook or leave a comment below. Don’t forget to watch the trailer; for every trailer viewing on YouTube, National Geographic will contribute $.10* (up to $100,000) to lion and big cat conservation in Botswana. You can also text LIONS to 50555 to donate $10. (msg & data rates may apply). Donations go to the National Geographic Big Cats Initiative.