“They deserved to die, & I hope they burn in hell!”
That was Samuel L. Jackson at his best, in A Time To Kill.
African Cats is Samuel L. Jackson at his worst…no yelling, no genuine excitement, & no swearing of any kind! After seeing the movie I really can’t fault Jackson for this narrating atrocity, but that doesn’t make it any easier to watch. Jackson was left to read a contrived plot by DisneyNature, a brand I will avoid with a passion from now on.
African Cats is rated G, so I didn’t expect any swearing, but how about a nice relaxed tone & some interesting facts about the lions in this picture? As a big fan of the Planet Earth series, I had high hopes for this movie & saw it the 2nd day it was in theaters, but walked away pretty disappointed.
DisneyNature butchered this production, fumbling the easiest of tasks. All African Cats needed to be was March of the Penguins on land & Disney had it made. Kids will think the lions & cheetahs are cute, adults will be entertained by learning stuff about nature they forgot from grade school, & the documentary will be a box-office smash. Then, you can sell it on Blu-ray & people will love the joy of watching nature unfold in 1080p, something they currently can’t get with HD Theatre, NatGeo HD, etc. (only 720p, plus commercials to skip or sit through).
I’m sure if they would’ve offered enough money, Morgan Freeman would’ve walked into a studio & narrated the thing in a day…done!
But we didn’t get that.
Instead, the audience is force-fed this contrived story with names attached to the lions, making the film seem less & less authentic with each scene. Worse, Jackson seems bored out of his mind reading the lines! As usual with Disney (see Bambi, Up, etc.), serious adult/violent themes that parents probably don’t want to explain to 4 year olds are shoved into the movie (savage killings, cubs getting eaten, mothers choosing a place to die, etc.), making everyone uncomfortable.
I could look past all this if the movie were at least rated PG & we got some solid educational info about the lions, but DisneyNature is so centered on developing the storyline we never get to that. As a result, if you aren’t interested in the storyline, you’re in for a long movie unless you walk out. African Cats was only about 90 minutes, but felt like 3 hours!
Verdict: 1.5 stars
Here’s a brief recap of how The Floor Seats’ 0-4 star rating system breaks down:
0-1 stars: This is an atrocious movie; an insult to film & a waste of your time
1-2 stars: Bad but not awful – avoid unless you’re dying to see it for a particular genre/subject matter/actor’s performance
2.5 stars: Only worth a rental if you really like that genre/subject matter/actor’s performance
3 stars: Definitely worth a rental unless you hate that type of genre/subject matter/actor’s performance
3.5 stars: Very good but not great – this is a film you should definitely rent & even consider buying if you like that genre/subject matter/actor’s performance
4 stars: Outstanding & unforgettable – almost certainly 1 of the top 100 greatest films you’ve ever seen. Buy with confidence!