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After looking through on demand on sky my kids came across a documentary, called African cats, they have always been into wild animals, so they wanted to watch it, I myself was not that keen, I have never been a fan of documentaries. But to please the kids I gave it a watch.
The documentary is narrated by Patrick Stewart who I will say now seems to do a very good job at narrating this, he makes the parts seem that little bit more exciting and gives it more of a build up, he never stumbles on any of his words, and has the sort of voice that is right for narration.
The documentary told you quite a bit about the lives of lions and cheetahs, and how both cats do things in different ways.
The film I found was sad in parts the bit that got me the most was where the pride had to move on but Leila was too exhausted, but the pride had to leave her behind anyway, and she was calling for them to wait for her. Her cub Mara has the difficult choice of staying with her mother, or following the pride. She chooses to stay with her mother, but immediately puts herself in danger, as they have now lost the protection on the pride.
I could go on all day about the different stories but then you will not need to bother watching it, so I will just say that during this documentary it follows the two families their hunting and dangers that they have to face everyday.
I must say though that children may find some parts of the film upsetting, as may some adults, I know I did. If I am fair I did not want to watch this, but I did actually find it interesting, I do not think I would be in a rush to watch another but I did enjoy this one, and I would recommend it for a watch. It wile be ideal for any wildlife lover.
African Cats follows the lives of a pride of wild Lions, a single Cheetah mother and her cubs. This documentary, filmed in the untouched Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya over the course of two years, follows the highs and lows of the lives of these wild big cats, the difficulties they must overcome, the strength and courage they must show and, above all, the family bonds and love between each group.
This is a wildlife documentary like no other you have witnessed. African Cats was filmed entirely in the wild with no human interference or annoying presenter in sight. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson (who speaks clearly and passionately throughout and really brings these images to life), this documentary follows the lives of individual characters in great detail, running side by side with one another and coming to an epic and uplifting conclusion.
The documentary centres around five main big cats:
Layla: Once the most experienced hunter in the pride, now badly injured and lagging behind the rest. Her wounds have stolen her physical capabilities and now she's slow, almost too slow. Despite her pain and death obviously creeping up behind her, she focuses on her only priority, Mara. She must protect her only cub, keep her from harms way and ensure she has a permanent place in the pride once she's gone. Does she have enough time left to ensure this happens?
Mara: Layla's daughter. A loveable six month old cub who is far more interested in playing and cuddling than hunting. She's devoted to her Mother and hopes to follow in her footsteps one day. With her Mother slowly dying and her future questionable, will Mara remain loyal to her Mother and what will become of her when she's orphaned?
Fang: The leader of the Lion pride. His broken tooth and general decaying of his strength make his leadership skills somewhat questionable. It's the women of this pride who give it its strength. How long can be Fang remain the leader of this pride when others have their eye on this role too?
Kali: North of the River where these Lions live is a second pride of Lions, Kali is their leader. Kali, powerful and strong, is not satisfied with dominating over the Lions of the north and has his eye firmly set on replacing Fang. Everyone must stand up to Kali at some point to protect their families but will he ever achieve his goal and replace Fang?
Sita: A strong and powerful adult female Cheetah who must do everything within her power to keep her cubs from harms way. Lions, Hyenas and Adult male Cheetah's will all attempt to harm the cubs she's so protective of and with her having to regularly leave her offspring unattended in order to hunt to keep her strength up and feed her children, will they always be there when she returns?
Sita's Cubs: Playful and adorable, what seem to be great adventures with their Mother are actually a matter of life and death. Every day brings a new challenge to these cubs and, as much as they learn from their fearless Mother, do any of them really stand a chance in this harsh environment? Will any of these five beautiful little cubs actually make it to adulthood?
African Cats focuses on these animals and portrays their real character and their real story lines. With all of these animals living side by side with one another the different story lines within the documentary mean they all tie together in the end. Everything flows together nicely and it never feels like you're jumping from one story line to another with no real connection between the two. You find yourself very quickly becoming attached to these animals, rooting for their success or failings, depending on their intentions and, if you're anything like me, you'll soon have your favourites!
The documentary is different to others in that it doesn't look at the lives of these animals as a whole but concentrates on the individual animals. Each has a story and many possible outcomes and you simply become captivated by them. Too scared to look away in case you miss something, desperate to find out what happens to them and hoping for the best.
The documentary features absolutely beautiful footage. Close ups, slow motion photography and ariel views offer some astonishing scenes of beauty. Every five minutes you find yourself thinking 'wow' to a particular shot and every move these animals make is caught in great detail. Ariel footage of great migrations are simply breathtaking, close ups of cubs cuddling their Mother's are perfect and watching a Cheetah hunt in slow motion will leave you mesmerised by the sheer power of these animals.
The documentary is suitable for all of the family. It does humanise these animals which normally wouldn't appeal to me in a documentary but it does it in a way that still delivers factual and accurate information making it easier for children to understand and follow without giving them false information on what these wild animals really live like. Hunting scenes have been carefully shot and edited to make this suitable for all ages too. Whilst it is still blatantly apparent what is happening how gory the actual kill and feeds are is up to your imagination. For instance, one scene shows a Lion hunting for her next meal, we see the chase followed by the Lion sticking her claws into the animal's back end, after that they both disappear behind a huge rock and that's the last you see of that particular moment.
Obviously being shot in a wild part of Africa means many other animals are encountered too. You'll see your fair share of Elephants, Crocodiles, Zebras, Giraffes and many, many more all shot in equally beautiful ways. The scenery is something really special to behold and the documentary shows this part of Kenya in all its glory but doesn't leave out the harsher sides of living here either. After all, this is a real documentary which tells a real story.
The music played throughout sets the scene wonderfully and evokes the right emotions. It creates suspense, tears and laughter and plays a fitting part in the emotional rollercoaster of this documentary.
African Cats is factual and educational and you come away from this having learned many new things about these animals and their survival in the wild. Directed by Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey, this documentary is of the usual high standard expected of a Disneynature documentary. Mostly heart warming, sometimes heart breaking but always overwhelming and breathtaking, African Cats is a definite must watch for all who appreciate the other animals we share this planet with and would like to learn a little more about them.
Run time: 79 minutes.
Available on Disney DVD and Blu-Ray from £10.31 on Amazon.