April 23, 2011

African Cats (04/23/2011)

Lettergrade: C

My wife and I are serious cat lovers, and have two of them at home. As such, the ads for African Cats never failed to excite us, and for weeks on end one of us would ask the other if this is the weekend that "the kitty movie" was set to come out.

Sorry, that was way too cutesy... If I read something where another couple was talking like that, I'd probably projectile vomit all over the keyboard.

In any case, it never really occurred to us that a movie about giant African cats would probably be about them fighting for territory, killing each other, young cubs getting picked off by predators and the elements, and the general "circle of life" in Africa, which makes for a fine Elton John song, sure, but comes off as a bit horrifying and depressing when you see it in reality.

Nevertheless, it's an interesting picture, although at times it crossed my mind that it's not substantially different, really, than the sort of thing you could catch on Discovery HD. I think the main thing that makes it noteworthy is that it's more of an experience than watching TV at home: You can see it in a theater with a bunch of other people, which I still maintain makes a difference. Is that faint praise? Maybe, but damn it, if we're keeping it real here, I've got to admit that that's where the big draw is.

Still... I'm happy that Disney has created a "Disney Nature" division, which once a year (usually around Earth Day), has been putting out large-scale documentary programming for family audiences like this. They get big-name talent to do the voice over work (in this case, Samuel L. Jackson, who surprisingly never found a way to work the word "fuck" into his dialogue), and they hire big composers to write the music. They've gotten a bit of heat for anthropomorphizing the characters a bit and forcing them into a "human" story, but hey, what can you do?

My entry on Disney Nature's Earth.

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