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February 14, 2011

THE LAST LIONS

The Last LionsWhile working for National Geographic, husband-and-wife directors Dereck and Beverly Joubert follow an African lioness seeking refuge with her two young cubs on an island in Botswanan's Okavango Delta.

A pride of territorial lions are determined to kill her cubs. The arrival of a large heard of buffalo pose both a threat and a potential food source. Beautifully photographed, and manipulated to form a three-act structure, the film achieves an outstanding moment of animal emotion when the lioness is driven to cry over a devastating event. While seeing a lion cry might not sound like the most moving natural phenomenon you could imagine, I assure you it is an experience that will stay with you.

Jacques Cousteau's conclusion that the greatest threat to the planet is overpopulation is illustrated in part by the diminishing number of African lions. Human encroachment has reduced the number of lions in Africa from 450,000 to 20,000 in just 50 years. Jeremy Irons's narration is at times overbearing due to dramatic liberties taken by the authors. However, "The Last Lions" is a fascinating documentary that puts a fine point on the importance of reducing overpopulation.

Not Rated. 88 mins. (B) (Three Stars - out of five/no halves)

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