Movie Review: AFRICAN CATS

The world ofDisney collaborates with several seasoned artists to bring to the silver screenthe latest saga in the Disney Nature adventure African Cats. The Disney Studios continue to be the leader of thepack with their nature preservation emphasis and renewed branding in DisneyNature.“Walt Disney was a pioneer in wildlife documentary filmmaking, producingthirteen True-Life Adventure motion pictures between 1949 and 1960, whichearned eight Academy Awards®.”In April 2008, over fifty years later, The Walt Disney Studios refreshed theirheritage of True-Life Adventure films and coined the project DisneyNature. TheStudio’s project now brings the world’s top nature filmmakers together to sharea wide variety of wildlife subjects and creates real stories with theatricalbalance.  The Walt Disney Studiosnature-feature documentary “Earth” opened in 2009, and was the first topremiere under the new DisneyNature label. In 2010, “Oceans” appeared on thesilver screen and was the third highest grossing feature-length nature film inhistory.
Filmmakers, KeithScholey and Alastair Fothergill join with narrator, Samuel L. Jackson to takethe film audience on a mesmerizing nature safari in African Cats. It’s more than a movie; it’s a true to life close-up,moving tale of the survival-of-the-fittest on the African Savanna. African Cats was filmed in Masai Mara,Kenya over a two year period observing the lifestyle of a variety of AfricanCats. The diversity of these species lives in a hierarchical world where theLion is the King. He rules over many animals of the African wild but his prideis the pack of lionesses that follow him day and night. The story with this lotof furry animals begins with crisp cinematography of a real live Antelope Herdmaking their seasonal trek. Their travel at racing speeds will draw on yourimagination of the visuals in the Disney animation feature-film The Lion King. The scenes are incrediblysimilar though one is the animation copy of the other’s reality. Their movementis absolutely stunning. The beginning to the African Cats story is due to the Herds’ movement. The Herd isgenerally the Cats’ source of nutrient. So, when the Herd moves, the Cats tryto follow but they end up in a different part of the Savanna tundra where theyare not in control. Each breed of the big African Cats must manage to survive onforeign soil searching for food and water, as well as, a safe environment fortheir young.
African Cats is a magical account that follows the true-lifeadventures of Layla, a strong River Pride lioness and her daughter, Mara; Fang,leader of the River Pride Lions; the single cheetah mother, Sita and her fivecubs; as well as, the Lion King of the North River, Kali and his four burleysons, as they journey where deadly foe and life dragons dwell.*
Foreducational purposes and a fun activity that you can do with your kids go tothe Disney Nature website and link http://www.disney.go.com/disneynature/africancats and downloadthe guide. You will engage in conversation with your kids to answer questionssuch as: How does the African Savanna Compare to where I live? Or, what is inan African Savanna? Or, what jobs do living things have on the Savanna?
*Rated: G,but a very slow moving film with up-close and personal cinematography notnecessarily appropriate for the very young in some scenes.
Karen Pecota
24/7 MOMS film journalist

Released in local theaters:April 22, 2011

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