Movie Review: African Cats
Disneynature movie leaps into theaters Earth Day!
My mom always told me I could have a cat someday, and now I know exactly which one I want: a cheetah cub from the new Disneynature film African Cats.
Unlike animated Disney movies we've grown up watching, African Cats is a true-life adventure, shot like the most beautiful, amazing movie ever of wild animals in Africa.
The film's stars are a group of real lions and cheetahs living on the African savanna, but the animals had no scripts for this shoot!
Sita is a sleek and fearless cheetah, the mother of five mischievous little cheetah cubs that are so unbelievably cute I found myself wishing I could have one as a pet—in my New York City apartment!
Mara is a lion cub trying to learn wisdom from her mother. And Fang is the real-life Lion King and leader of the pride. Although he is slow and aging, Fang is still in charge of defending his family from fierce, younger, and stronger rivals.
Each of these animal "stars" is in an almost-daily fight for food, survival, and status in the animal kingdom, which makes for some incredible scenes. My heart broke when the cheetah cubs were shivering helplessly in a violent rainstorm, and when a mother lion chose to give her cub away in order to save its life.
There are cheetah clashes, lion fights, and hyena attacks, and they make you realize how exhausting life must be as a wild animal, constantly having to hunt for lunch and even sometimes getting separated from your family.
This may sound violent, but African Cats isn't gory. Instead, it's powerful and awesome. The slow-motion close-up shots of lions and cheetahs running with their muscles rippling right in front of you are incredible. Not only can you count the stripes on the zebras, you can count the zebras' eyelashes!
No humans are seen in African Cats, but the humans who worked behind the scenes did a spectacular job capturing all the real-life shots of wild animals. Animals don't work on cue like trained actors.
This movie is majestic and suspenseful. The animals' wisdom and determination is inspirational and a reminder to us humans that we need to help protect their ecosystem, and their future.
African Cats was narrated by Samuel L. Jackson and directed by Keith Scholey and Alastair Fothergill.
For more about the movie, check out Kid Reporter Grace McManus’s interview with directors Keith Scholey and Alastair Fothergill, who reveal the secrets of their shooting techniques.
EARTH DAY 2011
Celebrate Earth Day and the fight to keep our planet clean on April 22. Scholastic Kid Reporters explore ways to make every day Earth Day in the Earth Day 2011 Special Report.
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