THE LAST LIONS
Ups and Downs
Release Date: February 18, 2011
Starring: Narrated by Jeremy Irons
Audience: Older children to adults
Runtime: 88 minutes
Distributor: National Geographic
Director: Dereck Joubert
Executive Producer: Tim Kelly, David Beal, Daniel
Battsek, Adam Leipzig
Producer: Beverly and Dereck Joubert,
Lisa Truitt, Chris Miller
Writer: Dereck Joubert
Address Comments To:David Beal, President
National Geographic Entertainment
1145 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036-4688
Phone: (202) 857-7027
Fax: (202) 828-6679
Narrated by Jeremy Irons, the movie focuses on the story of one lioness and her cubs in Botswana, Africa. The lioness is with her mate trying to find a place where there aren’t any humans. They run into another pride of lions, which attack them. The lioness survives, but her mate does not.
The lioness and her three cubs, including two females and one male, try to cross a crocodile-infested river to escape the other pride, but one of the female cubs doesn’t make it. For the moment, the lion family seems to be safe on the large island surrounded by the river. They still must eat, but the only real food seems to be a herd of fierce water buffalo, protected by a group of male buffalo led by a strong bull with a scar on its face.
Will the lioness be able to bring down a weaker buffalo before her family starves to death?
There are a lot of ups and downs in the story structure of THE LAST LIONS. Just when you think the lioness and her cubs may be able to survive, another setback occurs, often immediately. This makes the narrative less involving than it could be, and sometimes event irritating.
Also, although the beginning talks eloquently of the lifelong mating habits of lions, while discussing the lioness and her mate, the rest of the movie is more a story of Darwinian survival. Thus, God is not mentioned. In fact, at one point when the narrator ponders the fate of the lioness and her cubs, he mentions gods, not the One True God.
The end result is that THE LAST LIONS is not as compelling as it could have been. Viewers will, however, become very involved with the story of the lioness and her cubs. Even so, there are some intense, very sad moments that may depress impressionable children.
This movie is designed to make viewers concerned about the decline of the lion population in Africa. According to some sources, the African lion population has decreased 30 to 50% in the last 20 years and up to 75% in the last 100 years, from over 100 thousand to about 20 to 23 thousand, or less. However, the movie exaggerates the decline over the last 50 years to 95% by increasing the estimated number of lions 50 years ago to 450,00 instead of less than 100,000. The true estimated decline is bad enough without having to invent numbers for political purposes.
There are a lot of ups and downs in THE LAST LIONS. Just when you think the lioness and her cubs may be able to survive, another setback occurs, often immediately. This makes the narrative less involving than it could be. Also, the movie doesn’t offer a God-centered view of Creation to support its pleas for protecting the African lion population. In fact, the movie hypes some numbers regarding the population’s decline. The decline is bad enough without having to invent numbers. Finally, some intense, very sad moments in THE LAST LIONS may depress impressionable children.