One of the latter day projects that the late Roy E. Disney was surely most pleased with had to be the Disneynature series. Since he earliest days with the Disney Studios, he was closely involved with the True-Life Adventures series and other animal-related films (he even wrote the script for the Disneyland Records Storyteller vinyl album for Bambi).

Disneynature doesn't just pay lip service to the tradition of combining spectacular animal footage with gripping dramatic narrative, it delivers, thanks to partnerships with some of the best wildlife photographers and documentarists in the world. African Cats is a great example of this level of quality.

Narrated with a combination of familial warmth and grave intensity, Samuel L. Jackson guides us offscreen through the politics between lions and other wild cats, their triumphs and losses. So parents be prepared for some heavy stuff in parts, including real catfights (as opposed to the reality show variety).

There is also some humor, particularly in the end credits. While the genuine film credits appear on the right, at the left appear animals, one after the other, with amusing "behind-the-scenes" credits for fight choreography, etc.

The Blu-ray brings out the already-stunning photography as well. The extras are sparse, though, and I would have loved to see more of how the film was made, as was shown in other DVDs in the series.

This makes a good pairing with The Lion King, to compare and contrast from animated fiction to live action documentary. African Cats is about as close to the real thing as many of us will ever get.

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