African Cats ****


Running time: 89 mins Certificate: U

 

Synopsis: Disney’s latest documentary which follows two families of animals, a coalition of cheetahs and a pride of lions across the Maasai Mara game reserve in Kenya.

 

Filmed in the Kenyan savanna, the documentary tells the story of two families of cats. The first is a family of lions consisting of male head Fang, lionesses Layla and Malika and their cubs. The second is a female cheetah called Sita and her cubs. The film follows the cats as they hunt for food, fight for their territories and experience loss.

 

In the UK version, the film is narrated by Patrick Stewart (Star Trek, American Dad). The description of events and facts about the animals really adds to the film. The manner in which Stewart describes the emotions that may be felt by the cats helps the audience identify with the cats despite the fact that they are completely different species.

 

The way in which African Cats is filmed allows the audience to see the animals both up close and from a distance. Throughout the film, the audience is shown how the cats interact with other animals living in the same space and with each other. In particular there is conflict between Fang’s family and another group of lions. There are also scenes in which Sita the cheetah struggles to protect her cubs from other animals.

 

Overall, the audience are shown a combination of “family life” in the animal world and action scenes in which the cats fight each other and hunt their pray. This combined with Stewart’s narration makes for an enjoyable viewing experience.

 

Reviewed by Lesley Watt

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