Written by Zen Terrelonge
(Rating: U, 94 mins) Starring – Samuel L. Jackson.
Disney’s African Cats is something of a real world Lion King, which focuses on a pride led by Fang. The male lion is the group’s protector and bona fide player, given that he has around six partners, all of which are mothers to his cubs.
The entire footage was captured at the sprawling Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.
The pride live on the south of the river, a location that offers them mass protection from the northern pride comprising leader Kali, and his four sons, who are all set on takeover.
However, the waters can also present the group with a threat if they get too close, dragged to the depths by the crocodiles that dwell there.
One such face-off pits the lions against the scaly creatures, with Fang showcasing his ferocity and daring by wading into the water to fend off the would-be pair of shoes.
Of course, this isn’t The Lion King, and these animals can’t speak, which means they need someone to talk for them and that someone is Samuel L Jackson.
A voice instantly recognisable around the globe, he makes the scenes tender, intense, and comical when necessary, even managing to squeeze the term “don’t get fresh” into the wildlife affair.
It isn’t all out war though, as northern-based Sita the cheetah and her five newborn cubs are also captured under the lens, which offers a hugely different lifestyle to to the way the lions live.
For Sita is a single mother and has a seemingly lonely and overwhelming life, forced to protect her dependent newborns from hyenas and other predators, as well as showing them how to hunt and fend for themselves.
Beautiful shots capture the sweeping landscape, with close ups, establishing and birds eye views to really showcase the immense scale of the region.
The film is massively enlightening and it’s produced in such a way that it has varying levels of urgency throughout, working well to keep you on tenterhooks.
The only criticism is that the film sometimes seemed scattered, leaving it slightly difficult to accurately forge a timeline of the events which spanned over a year.
African Cats is available now on Blu-ray and DVD.