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African Cats

Disney Nature presents African Cats

Watching the spectacular documentary "African Cats" is like visiting the big cat house at the zoo, but without any barriers. The high-powered lenses of the camera, under the direction of Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey, provide fascinating close-ups of lions, cheetahs, hippos and crocodiles, among others. But not just ordinary facial shots like you may have seen in other African films --- these animals are captured in combat mode as they confront rival hunters, even among their own species. There are also fabulous aerial shots of animal herds like water buffalo and gazelles that computer graphics can't come close to duplicating. There's a reason why the lion is the king of the jungle --- he is the most fearsome creature on four legs, particularly intimidating when prowling the savannah with other males. But in this movie, one focus is on a brave lioness named Layla who must raise her cub while teaching her to hunt so she can survive on her own. And the other focus is on a cheetah mother named Sita who must care for five cubs for the same reason. Oh, the boys are here, to be sure, especially Fang, an old beaten-down male lion whose dangling tooth is a reminder of a battle gone awry. And a lion dad, Kali, and his four sons, eager to expand their territory by usurping land from another pride, make their presence felt like a group of roving gang bangers. While the courage and arrogance of the thick-maned males is quite evident -- in one scene Fang discourages a threatening crocodile with a deafening roar --- the mothers and their protectionist instincts are center stage. Ably narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, reading from an occasionally over-the-top script, we get to know these cats as if they were human characters playing out a life-and-death drama. When Sita loses two of her five cubs during a predator attack, her staccato shrieks of pain, as she scours the savannah for any clue, are heartbreaking. And as Layla struggles to tap her last remaining energy in a do-or-die battle to save her daughter, it is an inspiring sight. This is a film I would eagerly watch again. As Jeanne so eloquently indicated, the hunt scenes are not shown to their full extent, so we are spared the suffering of the cats' victims. Every member of the family will enjoy this terrific Disneynature adventure. Courtesy of David Kaplan, Kaplan vs. Kaplan Official Trailer

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Directed by: 
Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey
Running Time: 

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