African Cats (G)

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The ViewHamilton Review

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Review byTenani French7/07/2011

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 89 mins

Impressive photography and a stunning backdrop frame what is one of the most unique nature documentaries of the last few years, with all the heart of a scripted film.

What's it all about?
Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, African Cats is a nature documentary presented from the point of view of two families of felines, Lions and Cheetahs. The documentary follows the escapades of two mothers and their children as they try to make a life in the wildest place on Earth.

Sita, a mother Cheetah has just given birth to five cubs and faces the challenge of raising them to be independent while protecting them from the dangers of the savannah. Meanwhile Layla is a lioness and part of a pride lead by Fang. Layla’s daughter Mara is only 6 months old and has found a place among the cubs in the pride. Another male Lion, Kali, wants to take over Fang’s pride and so begins a power struggle that will test every lion in the pride.

The Good
A novel approach to nature documentary making pays off as directors Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey craft an intertwining story of two mothers looking after their families in a film complete with war, love, motherhood and true tests of survival. The filmmakers succeed in creating an emotional bond between the audience and the animal characters on screen by showing the roughness of the savannah and the tenderness of the feline families’ bonds.

The character approach is a nice change from the preachy, moral-heavy nature documentaries of the past few years and makes the film accessible to children (which, being a Disneynature production was undoubtedly the aim). Samuel L. Jackson lends his voice as the narrator and gently moves the story along while explaining some of the more unusual behavior simply for the younger audience members. In keeping the film accessible for younger viewers it does start to grind on viewers who are more familiar with savannah carnivore behaviour.

The Great
While the characterisation of the animals is effective in creating a bond with the audience the real star of the show here is the photography. Stunning landscape and wildlife shots abound with enough colour and depth to throw even the most resistance movie-theatre-travellers headfirst into the African pridelands.

Worth seeing?
African Cats breathes new life into the nature documentary genre by characterising the animals for optimum audience connection while still being fun and accessible enough for viewers of all ages to become entranced.

Film Trailer

African Cats (G)
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Content updated: 20/05/2019 19:18

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