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"THE LEOPARD SON"
(1996) (Voice of Sir John Gielguld) (G)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
None Minor None Mild None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
None None Moderate None None
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
None None None Minor *Minor


QUICK TAKE:
This quasi-documentary follows the life of a leopard from cub to adulthood.
PLOT:
Sir John Gielguld provides the voice of narrator Hugo Van Lawick, a nature photographer who follows the life of one particular leopard cub. No humans are ever seen, but instead the film focuses on the leopard "son" learning about his surroundings and the way of life on the African Serengeti. His mother takes good care of him and he soon grows into a fine young leopard that still must learn the ways of life and death. He eventually learns how to hunt, and how to avoid baboons and lions, the latter of which will kill anything for food or to eliminate carnivorous competition.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Probably, but this isn't "The Lion King," and they may not initially like it as much since it's not animated.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: G
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • There are no humans or talking creatures, so this is not applicable.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 6 out of 10
    This film will take parents back to the time when they were kids and grew up watching all of those Disney nature features. While this isn't much different than what you'd see in similar productions on TV, it's still fun to watch on the big screen. Gielguld's narration as wildlife photographer Hugo Van Lawick is moderately used, but what's there does provide for a thin "plot" line. Still, there's nothing here that you haven't seen before and the movie does begin to drag a bit as the film makers try to create a story line that will keep us interested. The movie doesn't provide the facts and scientific observations that the TV shows do, and thus we become almost a silent observer of nature running its course. Films like this are hard to rate (since there's essentially no plot, no humans, etc...), but we'll give it a 6 out of a 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    There's nothing here worse than what you'd see in a National Geographic special or on the Discovery Channel (which produced the film). There are the shots of leopards and lions killing other animals, but none of it is very graphic and there's very little gore in the eating scenes. There is some suspenseful music that might affect little kids, but older kids won't have a problem with it. Kids will enjoy the scenes of the leopard cubs, but the harsh side of nature is also shown and parents should be prepared to discuss this with younger kids who might be upset over the natural killings. Over all, however, this is the least offensive G rated film we've seen in a long time.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None.
  • BLOOD/ GORE
  • The gore is limited to animals being killed by leopards or lions. None of it's bloody and there are only a few shots of partially eaten animals. None of it's any worse than what's seen on similar TV shows.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • None.
  • FRIGHTENING/TENSE SCENES
  • There are several scenes that younger kids might find to be tense (that are accompanied by moderate tense music). Most of them revolve around the dangers that lurk around "every corner" for the leopard and include encounters with lions and a pack of baboons both of which are determined to chase the leopard out of a tree.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • None.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There is a moderate amount of suspenseful and tense music as the leopard son and other animals have close encounters with the deadly lions.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • None.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • None.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The movie emphasizes "Wherever there's life, there must also be death" and parents should be prepared to discuss the killing for survival that takes place.
  • The leopard mother "marks" her territory and kids may wonder what she's doing "peeing" on trees.
  • The leopard's mother leaves him (to allow him to finish growing up) and later is killed by a lion (not seen -- but her body is).
  • VIOLENCE
  • The violence is limited to animals killing other animals for food or for territory rights, but none of the deaths are very graphic (all are swift) and none of it's any worse than what you'd see on similar TV shows.
  • A lion kills the leopard's mother off screen, but the leopard finds the body.



  • Reviewed September 27, 1996

    Other new and recent reviews include:

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