African Cats - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

African Cats Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ February 4, 2012
A decent family movie for parents to bring their kids to the theaters. It doesn't really offer anything about these felines that we have not seen before on the Discovery Channel but is still good fun, with nice images and great sound design.
Super Reviewer
January 13, 2013
An attemp to bring back the wildlife disney adventures of 1960, that said, this movie can't hold a candle to those movies. 1 star
Super Reviewer
½ April 24, 2011
This year's Earth Day nature documentary from Disney is a heart warming tale about two mothers, a lion and a cheetah. The film follows them as they raise and protect their young cubs from predators. Of course, the camera captures incredible footage of the packs, the environment, and these creatures in action. Every shot is edited together to create a story, almost like a scripted film, and it's quite wonderful.
My only complaint is that the film focuses a lot on hunting and the mothers protecting the young, not much else. I think in trying to create an actual narrative for the animals, one cannot help but feel the film does not depict the true reality of the environment. Oh well. All animal lovers, as well as those families looking for a good film to see over the Easter weekend will be pleasantly entertained. And Samuel L Jackson narrates, giving the film a Pulp Fiction type flavour - just kidding. But his voice commands the words and makes the story that much more compelling.
Super Reviewer
April 30, 2011
I bless the rains down in Africa.
Bradley T. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ September 29, 2011
Another Disneynature success, African Cats may lack the narration quality or ooing and ahing moments from Earth and Oceans, but African Cats stands on its own. Plays almost like an African thriller, the film has some suspenseful scenes but it is also compassionate. Too bad the overly cheesy and sentimental music occasionally puts the film in sappy territory. Overall Rating: 72
Super Reviewer
½ May 12, 2011
"African Cats" was my first outing into the world of Disney Nature and their series of documentaries about wildlife and the parts of the planet we live on that we know little about. While I was somewhat unsure what to expect going in, the result was pretty much what I might have guessed it would be and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. This is, by all definition, a documentary. What the makers have done to Diney-fy this film though is to place a story behind this footage that no doubt took months if not years of just waiting for a single event to happen. The animals are given names that are representative of their physical traits and the story line is something out of what was probably a draft of a "Lion King" sequel at some point. Parts of the film are fascinating and others drag. It's a mixed bag, but an entertaining experience and consistently an educational treat for the whole fam.
April 30, 2011
Almost beautiful like "Earth" and "Oceans," but it's the darkest Disneynature documentary yet with dark and most dramatic footages. Jackson has the right voice to narrate these "African Cats." (B-)

(Full review coming soon)
½ October 12, 2012
the people behind documenting this footage do not get enough credit. amazing artistic shots and visuals
August 20, 2012
The moral of the story is African Cats are douches unless they're babies. And eff you DisneyNature for depressing me with baby animals dying. Beautiful photography, though. I guess.
July 2, 2012
This was definitely the worst of the Disneynature movies but not bad. It had cute animals and an interesting plot to it. Samuel L. Jackson's narration was good too. On the other hand the middle got really boring, and kinda felt like it should be called African Cat Naps. But overall, ok movie.
June 30, 2012
Good movie. Touching, cute, and slightly suspenseful in a few scenes. Loved the narration from Sam Jackson.
½ May 27, 2012
Good movie, but too long... I thought little boring. Samuel L. Jackson did nice narration. HD picture quality was perfect! Great for kids.
April 10, 2012
It could have used a better narrator but with so much stunning nature footage and emotional connection to the lives of these animals it is a treat to fans of nature programing and ranks among the best
February 26, 2012
There's not really much to say about the newest in the Disneynature series of documentary pictures. It looks absolutely gorgeous, with a nice mix of the intimate and the epic. Like March of the Penguins and the other nature documentaries that have followed in its wake, African Cats is basically non-fiction footage with a narrative attached via narration and judicious editing. Samuel L. Jackson narrates the proceedings, and its a suitably hammy and exciting delivery. The issue of course is that, like many nature documentaries aimed at mainstream audiences, there is an all-too obvious attempt at anthropomorphizing the pride of lions and the single-mother cheetah and her cubs at the center of the story. Behavior that may be cold animal instinct is constantly attributed to maternal affection and recognizable human emotional motivations. The story itself, a turf battle between two male lions and the cheetah family caught in the middle, may in fact be what happened as the cameras rolled over a two-year period. But, when even the makers of the seemingly silently-observant Winged Migration admits to staging, I cannot help wondering how much of the 'story' was wholeheartedly manufactured for the sake of heart-tugging.

It's a double-edged sword of course. On one hand, we decry the apparent fictionalization of this real-world document. But, if the purpose of this documentary and others like it is to acquaint younger viewers with the basic idea that animals have brains, hearts, and 'souls', then the first step of that process is more-or-less convincing these youngsters that animals are 'just like us'. But even if we acknowledge the necessary evil of humanizing these wild animals, did the process have to be so melodramatic? Going into the film, I was worried that my three-year old would be disturbed by the whole 'animals eating animals' as well as the periodic moments of emotional distress (there is a bit of that, but the film earns its G rating). Jackson's narration does its best to amp up the tension and suspense, arguably creating drama where none may have actually existed onscreen. As it turns out, the only thing my daughter was really frightened by was the overbearing music (score by Peter Cobbin), which was only slightly less overbearing than Jerry Goldsmith's score for The Omen III: The Final Conflict. My daughter is at that age where loud noises frighten her (automatic-flushing toilets are a constant problem), so the needlessly melodramatic and overpowering score was a little annoying, to be frank.

As for the actual onscreen content, she did ask the occasional awkward question ("Why is that zebra no longer alive?", as a zebra was being eaten by several cheetahs), but by the time a cheetah takes down an antelope in a triumphant end to her hunger (the herds have returned from migration), Allison literally clapped her hands and happily (and quietly) exclaimed: "Yay! Tasty horse!". So while Allison enjoyed the movie overall (she liked the cheetahs, but not the lions) and my wife pretty much welled up at all the appropriate emotional beats (she's one of those people who has turned to emotional jelly since having kids), I can only count myself as moderately satisfied. Point being, there is a cost to the rampant anthropomorphization that occurs in films such as this. Because the film is so reliant on an emotionally-tinged and seemingly constructed narrative, I had to remind myself that I was watching documentary footage throughout the running time. But the footage is dynamic and gorgeous, worth the price of admission if you're a fan of wild animals and/or untouched frontiers. But I can only imagine how this movie (and others like it) would play without the endlessly manipulative narration and musical score.

It's a tough call. It's obvious that March of the Penguins (a much bleaker and more depressing film, a 'trail of tears with penguins' if you will) and the likes of African Cats depend on a certain 'Gee, look how lions love their babies just as much as people do!' pandering in order to get general audiences invested in the picture. But perhaps that investment is a small price to pay for instilling a love of nature and/or animals in the younger audiences at a crucial age. African Cats delivers on what it promises and works as a solid gateway film for young audiences to learn about the world just outside their front door.
March 30, 2011
I love when Disney does documentaries! They always are magnificent works of art and the babies were so cute!
½ December 11, 2011
"African Cats" is a well done documentary, but sadly its disappointing. i really thought the characters were good, and the story is interesting. the story is about 2 family's of cats trying to survive in the wildest place on Earth. i do think the story is good, but it could have been done so much better. at times it was hard to really figure out what was going on or why something was happening, and i think the transitions between the family's could have been done better. the characters where beautiful in every way, but i think that at times it was hard to tell who is who cause they all look the same. i do think Samuel Jackson did a good job narrating. i do also have to say the credits were very funny how they game the animals credits for the movie. overall "African Cats" is a decent documentary, but its lack of clarification held it back from being a masterpiece.
Replay Value: Moderate
December 2, 2011
(4 Stars) Disneynature makes some really great nature documentaries and African Cats is another in among their impressive films. Granted, it's really hard to not be astounded by most nature films since the documentarians get so close to wild animals and show us fascinating behavior. This film does a good job of trying to keep a story. I know some people are miffed by Samuel L. Jackson's narration. I'm okay with it; it seemed funny for about five seconds, then I got back to the movie. If you're interested in the material at all, see African Cats.
October 10, 2011
I love looking at a good nature documentary as much as the next guy, but this doc about lions felt a little to ‚~disneyfied‚(TM) to have the impact it should.
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