African Cats (U)

Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey, 89 mins. Starring: Patrick Stewart

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Sita is a single mother juggling the demands of life and family. With no home help she has to leave behind her kids while she goes out for food. The world outside swarms with predators that would kill her as soon as look at her.

Such is the life of a cheetah, the fastest thing on four legs in the savanna yet in constant danger from the neighbours – notably hyenas, which are second only to warthogs for ugliness and without rival for meanness.

This wildlife documentary on Kenyan turf wars photographs some amazing sights – a trio of lions padding across the plains, a cheetah bringing down a gazelle in slo-mo, a lion facing down a crocodile and all but saying "You want some?" – even if there's something mildly absurd about giving the animals names (eg. Fang, Layla, Kali et al).

Patrick Stewart's sonorous Shakespearean drawl also leans a bit heavily on "the majesty of the wild" – I'd much prefer the chumminess of Johnny Morris and his daft voices. Some breathtaking sights here, all the same.