Just as there have been too many animated movies crowding the screens, there appears to be a mad flood of nature films rising. Following too closely on the heels of Born to Be Wild, Disneynature unveils African Cats. Samuel L. Jackson narrates this seasonal journey through a Kenyan reserve that spotlights a mother lion raising a female cub as part of a pride and a single female cheetah struggling to keep her five cubs safe.
The release of the film coincides with Earth Day, but there is likely the hope that the movie will have legs enough to run through Mother’s Day, since it celebrates these wild earth mothers and their sacrifices for their families. African Cats will likely remind older audiences of the Wonderful World of Disney from back in the day, especially the weekly episodes with the focus on life in the wild. So much effort goes into making the various cats and their situations relatable and engaging, some of the raw reality of jungle life gets sanitized in pursuit of a happy ending.
To be fair, though, it is worth noting that some of the hunting sequences have a heightened sense of threat aimed at contemporary viewers, so beware when taking young children. These cats have a bit of bite in them. Grade: B-
Opens April 22. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.