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The Last Lions

No Rating | CP Grade: B-

The Last Lions
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The lioness who embodies the titular lament of Dereck Joubert�s latest documentary is surely courageous. When her mate is killed by a pack of marauding lions, she must care for her cubs, which means finding a new territory and food source. But as the lioness � named here Ma di Tau, or �mother of lions� in Setswana � makes her way across the plains of Botswana, representing the decline in African lions� numbers from 450,000 half a century ago to just 20,000 today, she also must reflect the emotional nuances presumed for her by the film, voiced by none other than Scar (Jeremy Irons as narrator here). The film is beautiful and painful. The lioness�s losses are monumental, the violence she endures and inflicts is horrific, and the lesson for the rest of us is worthy (the effects of climate change extend far beyond wild weather in the U.S. or the polar bears without ice in Al Gore�s movie). But as moving as Ma di Tau�s story surely is, the narration (�When she roars, she calls to no one, her voice just adds to the turbulent day�), along with the slow-motion footage, the flashbacks, the orchestral score and, above all, the human presumptions, are too often overbearing. Cindy Fuchs

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Rating:No Rating
Director:Dereck Joubert
Cast:Jeremy Irons
Release Date:February 18, 2011 (Limited)
Running Time:88
Distributor:National Geographic Entertainment
Genre:Drama

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