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"African Cats" - {Bluray}
Reviewer:
Edward McNulty
Studio: Disney
Genre:
Family
Release Date:
10/4/11
Special Features:

See Below

Review:

In this documentary co-directors Keith Scholey and Alastair Fothergill transport us to the Masai Mara National Reserve of southern Kenya. There we follow the fortunes and misfortunes of three big cat families, two of them lions and one a cheetah and her cubs. In his magisterial voice Samuel L. Jackson narrates their anthropomorphized stories.***

Sita the cheetah is a single mother raising five cubs to face the savanna's many threats, among which are lions and ravenous hyenas. At times she has to lure the predators away from the cubs because of the size or the number of the attackers. In one of these her brood is reduced from seven to five.***

Layla the lioness with her six-month-old cub Mara belongs to the River Pride. It is a communal existence with the several mothers joining together in hunting and guarding their cubs. The pride is ruled by Fang, though he is long past his prime and seldom around.***

Black-maned Kali and his four young adult sons live north of the Talek River. They are barred from crossing by the high water, but when the dry season arrives, they cross over and approach the River Pride. Fang runs off and is never heard from again. Kali has acquired another territory and pride, with narrator Jackson making it sound as if Kali is Genghis Kahn following a well-planned campaign of conquest.***

Special Features:

Disney & Nature featurette into the conservation efforts around the world being sponsored by The Walt Disney Company

Save The Savanna featurette about Disney's "See African Cats, Save the Savanna" program and its impact on the region

Blu-ray Exclusive - Filmmaker Annotations viewing mode with 12 different segments including behind-the-scenes footage of the production process and stories from the filmmakers and conservationists who spent several years making the film

Blu-ray Exclusive - Jordin Sparks "The World I Knew" Music Video

Final Words:

The story line is a bit much to swallow, but the photography is absolutely gorgeous. How patient the filmmakers must have been to acquire the extreme close-up shots of the cheetahs and lions. And not just of the big cats, but also of gazelles, ostriches, hippos, rhinoceroses, crocodiles, water buffalo, wildebeests, hyenas, elephants, zebras, and oodles of birds. Many of the latter make up the diets of the cats, as we see in a number of hunting scenesóbut parents are not to fear, this being a Disney production, the filmmakers stop the scene before we see much blood or torn flesh. This is one film that definitely should be seen on as large a screen as possible, so if you are stuck with a small screen TV, wangle an invitation to a friendís home equipped with a home theater. We come away with a sense of the grandeur of nature and an appreciation of the struggle of mothers in the wild to raise and protect their offspring.***

 

 
 
 
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