African Cats – Movie review

April 27, 2011  By: Gretchen

The second big cats movie of the year arrived on the big screen this Earth Day. African Cats follows the lives of a lion family and a cheetah family in the Masai Mara. You can expect spectacular close ups of animals, beautiful scenery and stunning, slow motion river crossings; not just of wildebeest and zebra, but also predators.

This is a Disney nature production, so it is rated ‘G’ and is meant to be more appropriate for children than the unsparing view of big cat life found in the National Geographic production ‘The Last Lions‘, released in February. ‘G’ rating aside, there is violence – and while most of it is off-screen, there are some intense scenes that include kills. The movie relies on edge of your seat action and drama to keep the audience engaged but misses some of the majesty that we saw in The Last Lions.

Samuel L Jackson does a nice, but unremarkable job narrating, and that is where most of the darker parts of the movie are described, rather than being shown directly on screen. The music does a nice job of conveying what the filmmakers want you to feel at a given moment, but doesn’t really evoke Africa.

If you want to enjoy scenery and close ups of African game, this is a good movie. It’s also potentially a good family movie and is appropriate for most ages (and a good way to get your ‘Africa fix’). If you want a more stark and intimate look at the lives of lions (sparing no emotion), I’d suggest The Last Lions.

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