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"AFRICAN CATS"
(2011) (Documentary) (G)


Alcohol/Drugs None
Blood/Gross Stuff Minor
Disrespectful/Bad Attitude None
Frightening/Tense Scenes Heavy
Gun/Weapons None
Imitative Behavior None
Jump Scenes Minor
Music (Scary/Tense) Extreme
Music (Inappropriate) None
Profanity None
Sex/Nudity None
Smoking None
Tense Family Scenes Mild
Topics to Talk About Moderate
Violence Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Documentary: Two mothers, one a lioness, the other a cheetah, try to raise their young on the African savanna, a land filled with various perils, predators and foes.
PLOT:
On the African savannah two mothers of the big cat family are trying to raise their young. On the south side of a crocodile infested river is Layla, the oldest lioness in a pride ruled by Fang, so named for the broken tooth hanging from his mouth. He protects the females from any number of dangers, including those crocodiles, the latter of which have kept rival lion leader Kali and his adult sons from crossing over from the north side.

They, hyenas and other predators pose a danger to the offspring of Sita, an otherwise solitary cheetah. While she does her best to protect them, she must hunt, thus leaving them exposed, while Layla has it a bit easier with her one cub, Mara, due to having the support and protection of her pride. But with the river level dropping, it's only a matter of time before Kali decides to cross over into her land.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're into documentaries about wild animals, that's a definite yes.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: G
Apparently for not containing material to warrant a higher rating.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
Not applicable as no humans or human-type characters are present.
CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


(Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
Here's a brief summary of the content found in this G-rated documentary. No profanity or sexual content is present.

Violence consists of standard documentary footage of predators chasing down and killing their prey (although the footage doesn't show the actual killing, blood or gore). That footage along with some moments of peril for various animals (including those trying to cross a crocodile infested river) could be unsettling, suspenseful and/or scary to younger viewers.

If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are various high attitude, fly-over shots looking down or out (with fluid movement).


ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None.
  • BLOOD/GROSS STUFF
  • A lion has a bit of a bloody wound after attacking Fang's pride.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • None (even if Kali is depicted by the narrator as the villainous intruder).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed here and under "Violence" may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • As his pride feeds on a dead hippo right next to the river, several crocodiles appear. Some lionesses make their displeasure known, but the crocs don't stop advancing until Fang appears. There's a brief standoff with him on the edge and partially in the water, growling and such, while the croc makes threatening movements but ultimately backs down.
  • The narrator informs us that if Kali defeats Fang, the former will surely kill Mara. He also states that the high river is what keeps Kali and his sons at bay, but that it will fall at some point.
  • We see that Layla, who limps along and is noted as already being old, was injured in a zebra hunt.
  • We see (and hear narration about) Kali approaching Sita and her young cubs. She lures him away in a false chase, but his son takes his turn, and she must do the same with him. But the narrator informs us as night falls that darkness will cloak other predators, and we hear that the cubs were spread apart during those chases. Hyenas then arrive on the scene, and while we don't see them attack, the next morning we see Sita with just three cubs and calling out for the other two who we hear were taken by the hyenas.
  • Some kids may worry when they hear/see that the pride is leaving the injured Layla behind.
  • Three adult cheetah brothers approach Sita and her cubs. They first attack her (beyond some swatting and such she's okay) and then go after the cubs that manage to stand their ground despite the size difference with their would-be attackers. An elephant then comes along and chases away the adult cheetahs.
  • With the river now down, Kali and one adult son cross it to take over Fang's pride and land and we again hear that Mara might be killed. Outnumbered, Fang runs off, but the lionesses attack Kali, eventually driving him and his son away (thus protecting the pride's cubs). We then hear that one cub was injured during this (it's seen, but doesn't appear badly injured) and that Mara is now missing.
  • Hyenas again close in on Sita and her cubs, but she keeps them at bay and saves her cubs.
  • Some kids may worry upon seeing Sita and her cubs shivering in the cold rain.
  • The narrator informs us that Layla's time is short.
  • Layla leaves the pride for good once Mara has been accepted by her aunt and her offspring. We then see the lioness lying down alone, with the narrator saying that she can now give up the fight (and die).
  • We hear that Kali's other sons are crossing the river and are coming for Fang with a vengeance. We then see Fang running for his life from the intruders, followed by the lions attacking the lionesses (some clawing and such but nothing too bad, although one attacking lion has a little bit of a bloody wound) and then hear that all of their offspring fled.
  • The narrator describes that Fang's young adult sons must cross the river to get away from Kali, but fear the crocodiles in the now high river. Nonetheless, the two cats do just that, but are then swept into deep water. One is taken under by an unseen croc and we just see its tail whip around above the surface, but it manages to escape and get to the opposite shore along with the other lion.
  • Hyenas again appear, but this time Sita's older cheetah offspring stand their ground.
  • Sita and her offspring must cross the croc infested river and manage to do so without injury, but we hear that they're now in Kali-controlled land.
  • Sita's offspring hunt after a lioness and her cubs, but then find themselves hunted by other lions in the pride and must take flight.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • None.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • There's a sudden lightning bolt during a t-storm.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • None.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • None.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • While there aren't any of the human variety, much of the film revolves around the lion and cheetah mothers separately trying to raise and protect their offspring. Some of that includes Mara sticking with her aged and injured mother rather than the rest of the pride, while Sita tries to find her young after a nighttime hyena attack, with us aware that some of them didn't make it. The narrator gives more weight to this - in human terms - than is naturally present.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The life of lions, cheetahs and other such wildlife on animal reserves.
  • How documentary filmmakers manage to get such amazing footage of such animals.
  • The anthropomorphizing of animals.
  • The loose tooth hanging from Fang's mouth.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see one of the big cats chase down, catch and kill its prey (the latter is only partially seen and not in any graphic detail).
  • The lions hunt and chase after zebras, with Layla receiving a swift back-kick, but that and another zebra go down (no blood or anything explicit).
  • Three adult cheetah brothers approach Sita and her cubs. They first attack her (beyond some swatting and such she's okay) and then go after the cubs that manage to stand their ground despite the size difference with their would-be attackers.
  • With the river now down, Kali and one adult son cross it to take over Fang's pride and land and we again hear that Mara might be killed. Outnumbered, Fang runs off, but the lionesses attack Kali, eventually driving him and his son away (thus protecting the pride's cubs). We then hear that one cub was injured during this (it's seen, but doesn't appear badly injured) and that Mara is now missing.
  • We hear that Kali's other sons are crossing the river and are coming for Fang with a vengeance. We then see Fang running for his life from the intruders, followed by the lions attacking the lionesses (some clawing and such but nothing too bad, although one attacking lion has a little bit of a bloody wound) and then hear that all of their offspring fled.
  • The narrator describes that Fang's young adult sons must cross the river to get away from Kali, but fear the crocodiles in the now high river. Nonetheless, the two cats do just that, but are then swept into deep water. One is taken under by an unseen croc and we just see its tail whip around above the surface, but it manages to escape and get to the opposite shore along with the other lion.



  • Reviewed April 6, 2011 / Posted April 22, 2011

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