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Review: ‘African Cats’ Roars With Excitement

All of us remember Disney’s animated 1994 epic, The Lion King. With its gorgeous artwork, colorful animals, and heartwarming storyline, it is a true essential for any family-friendly DVD library. Well now Disneynature has taken that premise even further, with its sweeping live-action film African Cats. Part documentary, part adventure story, this 90-minute journey through central Kenya is truly an amazing feat of filmmaking.

For the past four years, the Mouse House’s Disneynature division has produced some breathtaking films. Their first outing, 2007’s Earth, showcased magnificent scenery in the Arctic. Oceans arrived in 2010 and focused on (you guessed it) the most amazing sea life on the planet. Now with Cats, the studio has branched out even further, offering a semi-storyline to go along with the documentary footage.

Even though every “character” in this movie is a real animal in the wild, you can truly see their personalities shine. There are temperamental crocodiles, overprotective cheetah moms, and even a fang-faced lion who provides quite a bit of comic relief. To be honest, after watching the film you almost find yourself wondering whether the African Cats cast was following a script!

The characters audiences will fall in love with most are Mara the lioness, Sita the cheetah, and all of the cute baby kitties roaming around the landscape. And just like every good movie, Cats has its share of villains too. Kali the lion can be quite intimidating and has some scenes that may be a little intense for the younger crowd.

The plot of the movie is broken down into two separate stories. One involves Mara and her struggle to adapt to a new pride of lions. Throughout the film, you see her evolve from a timid 6-month-old cub into a proud and confident queen of the Cats. The other storyline follows Sita, a four-legged single mom trying desperately to provide for her adorable spotted babies.

Throughout it all, audiences are treated to the engaging voice of narrator Samuel L. Jackson and an incredibly fun musical score. And in case you were thinking of bringing little ones to African Cats, be warned. Though there is no outward violence shown in the movie, there are scenes involving death and battles between the prides (not to mention a pretty high gazelle body count).

Bottom line: African Cats literally puts those television nature specials to shame. With its stunning visuals and lush score, we highly recommend catching this movie in an IMAX theater (or at the very least, on a Blu-Ray DVD).

Are you planning on seeing African Cats this weekend? Sound off in the comments or @MTV3.

-Michael Lopez

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