Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Last Lions

A review of the Oscar-nominated nature documentary The Last Lions.
The Last Lions
Grade: C
Cast: Four-legged
Directors: Derreck and Beverley Joubert


A review of the Oscar-nominated nature documentary The Last Lions from a screening interrupted halfway through by a fire alarm?


True, it’ might not be best to review a movie that you’ve only seen halfway. But that’s one of the beauties of nature. The plot is pretty straightforward, and there are not a whole lot of unforeseen plot twists. If you get confused, you have the soothing FM voice of Jeremy Irons to cover the lost ground.

The documentary, by South Africans Derreck and Beverley Joubert, lays down the “man encroaching upon natural habitat” card a little thick. Wild, evil lions, driven from their normal habitat, kill papa lion and drive our relatively friendly lioness out of her domain. She hustles out her cute little cubs across the savannah to an island in an African river, where she tries to make an animal living. There’s a lot of stress that comes with trying to put enough wild buffalo on the table.

We think of certain types of audiences for geek movies, superhero movies, or romcoms. But I’ve noticed that’s there’s a certain high-minded audience that always makes preview screenings for Africa films. I have to say that I’m a little fascinated. They wear furs. They drink wine in the theater. And not going to a movie since Titanic has dulled any previous compunction about speaking loudly in the theater. It’s not that I wanted the loudmouths next to me to be overpowered by smoke inhalation. But I probably wouldn’t feel much survivor’s guilt, either.

The Last Lions does offer a lot to soak in. There are some spectacular African vistas and raw footage of chases, clashes, and cute little lion cubs doing cute little things. Still, nature shows dominate cable television and it’s not clear what makes it worth paying an additional $10 to see what you can see for ….

What’s that ringing? Again ….

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