THE LAST LIONS
Fifty years ago there were close to half-a-million lions in Africa. Today there are around 20,000. To make matters worse, lions, unlike elephants, which are far more numerous, have virtually no protection under government mandate or through international accords. This is the jumping-off point for a disturbing, well-researched and beautifully made cri de coeur from husband and wife team Dereck and Beverly Joubert, award-winning filmmakers from Botswana who have been Explorers-in-Residence at National Geographic for more than four years.
The Last Lion is from National Geographic, so you can expect some great photography and some bloodcurdling red and bloody and tooth and claw kind of footage. And this one certainly doesn’t disappoint. It’s a story of a mama lion who loses her mate and has three cubs and she has to protect them. It’s a pretty interesting saga. The narrator is Jeremy Irons, who is a little over the top. I came away with the idea, it makes me crazy when people anthropomorphize animals, when they attribute human emotions to animals that have a brain the size of a pea. This one is certainly better than March of the Penguins, in that lions are certainly a more sentient being than penguins. However, talking about grief with lions, I don’t know if it’s justified or not. The photography is terrific. The cubs are adorable, and it is an interesting story. You sort of walk out with the idea that it — we’re not sure how real it is, as much by the description of the emotions as anything else. But this is not a movie to take your kids to. It is very bloody. And some of the cubs, I’m not telling you a whole lot, don’t do real well in this one. But for your early teens who are naturalists, they’ll really groove on this. And it is an interesting story. I’m not sure exactly how to rate it because it’s so different than most movies. But I’ll give it three stars just because the story is actually interesting and the photography is fabulous. Plus, what’s not to love about lions?