BLU-RAY REVIEW: African Cats

"Absolutely captivating."

This nature documentary focuses upon two very different feline mothers as they travel two very different and dangerous paths in the wild while trying to raise and teach their cubs about hunting and survival.

I don't watch TV the way most people do, that is, the cable coming from the wall isn't even plugged into the back of my television.  Because I'm always on the go or working, I download episodes of whatever show I'm interested in and watch them when I get the chance.  One thing I do miss about surfing the channels are documentaries.  There are a good many autobiographies out there as well as a great many nature documentaries like this one (MARCH OF THE PENGUINS being the last one I watched on TV).  I've always had a love for the wild cat family; lions, panthers, cheetahs and what have you, so I knew I'd love AFRICAN CATS.  This is truly one the best nature films I've ever watched.

Samuel L. Jackson narrates this wondrous tale of two mothers raising their young in the majestic, yet brutally harsh wilds of Kenya.  On the one side we have an aging lioness trying to protect her cub by integrating it into the pride, and on the other hand we have a lone cheetah facing the many dangers of the wild as she tries to raise five young.  Both stories are engaging, especially considering most of these animals are named for the sake of good storytelling.  I don't know who exactly named them, but it was a clever avenue that helps generate a much greater sense of affection and danger.  The film itself is dazzling, easily one of the most beautiful Blu-ray experiences I've seen to date.  I have no idea how directors Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey were trusted enough by these magnificent animals to get so close (considering how many cubs were roaming around at all times) but they did an outstanding job capturing the unfolding laws of nature as well as the balance and camaraderie between these cats, their enemies and their prey.

AFRICAN CATS is a heartfelt, stunning look into the amazing world these feline wonders of nature live and prosper within.  It's easy to go about our mundane lives and forget that such beauty still exists in our world.  I loved the closeness of lion pride and wished the cheetahs lived the same way, you can't help but feel bad for any animal who goes solo out there.  Their ways of living may seem straightforward and simple, but don't be fooled, there's a hierarchy and strict code of teachings that make their fascinating world go around.  Seeing this film also made me give pause and consider Disney's THE LION KING with an even greater enthusiasm and respect, as they did a phenomenal job of re-creating the unrelenting and ever-changing world in which these beautiful animals flourish.

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