Cheetahs darting to speeds of up to 70 mph --
taking down a gazelle, lions romping with their cubs,
baboons bubbling around the forest, croc's halving
wildebeests, wildebeests giving birth. It's the real
"Circle of life" beautifully captured with close up
shots, understanding and appreciation for the rich
animal stomping grounds of Kenya and Tanzania.
I've spent a year in Africa myself and enjoyed
three or four safaris. Of course, a theater will
never give you the actual experience of the Serengeti
and film can never replace vision, but the images
here are abundant with high quality animal life and
rich with animal emotion.
The big voice of James Earl Jones nestles
comfortably into one of modern technologies greatest
sound systems -- they were made for each other. If
you don't recognize that voice, watch the first "Star
Wars" and listen to the man in the black mask. Of
course, besides his strong audio, many interesting
facts migrate across the narration. Wildebeest can
travel 50 miles in one night, lions miss 4 out of 5
of their attacks, a wildebeest newborn must stand
within minutes or will be left behind.
Additionally, the fascinating Masai tribe are
included. Though, I've heard that Masai teens go out
into the forest alone at night and must kill a lion
before they return to the tribe to be called men -- I
would have loved to see this rite of passage captured
Appropriately so, the picture doesn't stray from
the killing habits of the wild and even sex lives of
big cats, nor does it linger on the carnage. In fact,
almost as an artificial contrasting upbeat ending
note, the last scene captures the triumph of a wobbly
wildebaby standing for the very first time.
Though technically a documentary, this film is a
40 minute safari.