Disneynature's Amazing African Cats Movie
Nature films can tend to be boring because despite the amazing wild footage, there is a lack of story to grip you, to make you care about the characters. In this case, two cat families, a lion tribe and the isolationist cheetah cat.
Disneynature films began the series with Oceans, March of the Penquins. While both are fine, as a viewer, the story failed to pull in the viewer. Many found both movies rather boring, despite awesome footage of wild animals. For African Cats, this changed. You have two types of very different African cats, both trying to raise a family of overly cute- wanna take them home- cubs. For the lioness and her cub, they belong to a pack or tribe ruled over by a male lion. He fathers all of the cubs and protects his female harem from other males in the tribe's territory. The cheetah, the fastest animal on earth for 30 seconds, has five cubs. It is because of the cubs and their cuteness that you care about them. A cute fish fails to pull at the human heart.
The film is all about their lives and switches back and forth about what each endures out in the Kenya wild as they try to raise their kids and survive from predators. The film is simply amazing as to "how it was done". The highlights have a group of invading male lions attempting to seize another's lion harem, in one attempt, the females run them off. Interesting is how both cats take on the crocs in the river and when the cheetah family stumbles into lion territory. At first, the young male cheetahs are hunting the sole lioness with her cubs stumbling across the land. As the young teenage cheetahs get closer, they suddenly realize other lions appearing on the fringe and know they have become the hunted. The mother "chirps" knowing danger is near. The lions give chase but it is like a VW trying to catch a Ferrari, and the cheetah's know this because they taunt them. Quite funny. Another encounter the cheetahs face are with the nasty hyena. The cheetahs first encounter with them was when they were babies and the mother managed to distract them away from the litter. Later, the teenage cheetahs suddenly find themselves in trouble again when the hyenas circle around them. This time, though scared, they stand their ground until mom arrives. Things really get hairy when the mom is assaulted by four male cheetahs. While she manages to ward them off, they notice the young kids far away and approach to attack. This time, the kids are saved by a wild elephant. The teenage cheetahs try to attack a wild ostrich with comical results from big bird!
The film shows that baby lions seem to grow up faster and more independent than cheetah's who stay with their mom until young adults (much like humans). Cheetahs are basically helpless until nearly grown. Until then, they follow mom around and play.
Unlike most nature films, this holds your interest because of the story, not unlike a single mom trying raise her kids in the big city. The invasion by four male lions into a tribe's territory takes on a real gladiator type face-off and impending doom. The film is bloodless. No animal kills are shown because a chase precedes it and you know what happens.
All in all, a solid 3 stars. Worth checking out even with kids.
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