Rated PG for some violent images involving animal life, 88 minutes
"The Last Lions" a fascinating look at the big kitty
"The Last Lions" is a sublimely compelling look at the African lion, produced by National Geographic and narrated by actor Jeremy Irons. The absorbing new documentary is a beautiful portrait of a one lion's survival and ability to care for her cubs. The lush photography is the highlight of the film, and the film is suitable for the entire family, though younger kids may be frightened by a few intense scenes of animal life.
The film documentary focuses on a lioness named Ma di Tau ("Mother of Lions") as she battles to protect her cubs against the daunting onslaught of enemies to ensure their survival. The underlying message of the film is on the low population of large cats in the world and whether or not Ma di Tau and her cubs are among the last lions.
"The Last Lions" is a mesmerizing, entertaining look at big cat life on another continent; the film is a great study on animal instincts and survival, though largely unrevealing given that National Geographic has been doing this awhile, with other big cat docs such as "Eye of the Leopard." If "The Last Lions" feels familiar to that film, it's because the film's directors Dereck and Beverly Joubert, also made that film (and also with Irons narrating).
Along with the handsome photography, it also helps that the first-rate narration, told with great inflection by Oscar-winner Irons, helps move the film along and actually adds insight and a dramatic feel to ordinary animal life. Even with the familiar story, all of it's engaging, insightful and a treat to watch, whether Ma di Tau is protecting her cubs (always cute when they're babies) or searching for food, you won't be able to look away.
"The Last Lions" is a worthwhile, enjoyable documentary that's worth a look, especially for animal lovers.
Wes's Grade: B