African Cats

Deep in the heart of the African savanna, a rivalry between two lion prides takes place while a cheetah family tries to stick together. Mara is an endearing lion cub who strives to grow up with her mother's strength, spirit, and wisdom, but an accident threatens to make her an orphan. Then there's Sita, a fearless cheetah and single mother of five newborns who must try and keep her cubs alive until they can fend for themselves. Finally, there's Fang, the leader of the pride who must defend his family from a rival lion clan that is looking to take over his land.

This is the first Disneynature production I've had a chance to see, and while the narrative is geared toward younger audiences, I still enjoyed it. The young cheetah and lion cubs are adorable, and I kept wondering how the filmmakers were able to get such close-up images. The story can turn a tad dark at times, but Disney provides a great vehicle to introduce kids to the African savanna.

The outstanding 1080p encode features vibrant colors and exquisite detail, especially in close-ups. When the camera zooms in on the faces of the animals, you can see a plethora of insects flying around their faces and even minute nicks and scars from past battles on their skin. A lossless soundtrack seems a bit overkill for a nature documentary, but the DTS-HD MA 5.1 presentation sounds great when the king of the jungle roars.

Bonus features include a PIP commentary, a couple of featurettes, a music video, a DVD copy of the film, and Disney trailers.

There are some violent moments that may scare the little ones, but most of them are kept off screen, and observant younglings will realize one of the animals has bought the farm. Regardless, it's a great way to introduce the kids to life in the wild, and I enjoyed the narration from Samuel L. Jackson. Recommended.

Ratings

Picture: 4.5/5
3D-Ness: N/A
Sound: 4.5/5
Extras: 3/5
Interactivity: N/A

Disc Specs

Studio: Disney (2011)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio Format: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Length: 89 Min
MPAA Rating: G
Director: Keith Scholey and Alastair Fothergill
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson

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