Don't let the cutesy cover picture deceive you—this is a phenomenal film. Far beyond a mere wildlife documentary, this is a full feature film with a storyline, action, and drama. Heroes and villains. Family. Culture. War. Play. It's all remarkably human. Or—rather it's that the human experience is understanding of the universal. It's the feeling that we are animals, too. We are one with the life around us, part of a huge family, clearly related, that our similarities remain after eons of evolution.
Meerkats of the Kalahari Desert in South Africa are the spotlight of this film. But you are absorbed into the Kalahari—not only the macro world of the meerkats (only about a foot/30cm tall) but also the surrounding community of scorpions, cobras, eagles, rhinoceroses, lions, and more making their lives in the dust and scrub of the beautiful landscape.
Supported by a full team of expert scientists, the film offers amazing insights into both meerkats and the surrounding life of the Kalahari. We learn about their language and behaviors. Their struggles. We watch them teach and raise their young. The film makes the beauty of nature and life so accessible that one feels a swell of respect for life of all kinds.
The Meerkats gives us a hint of the coming films that capture the stories existing in nature around us—now with the support of a Hollywood-level budget. Innovative filming techniques bring us right in with amazing cinematography. Infrared lighting systems convey us into underground burrows at night, watching the meerkats sleep and wake up as well as a cobra's dramatic underground tunnel attack. Brilliant ground-breaking audio gives us not animal calls but the fine detail of movements, even that of walking insects. Together with the magnetic main characters, alluring score, and an excellent script with a moving storytelling by Paul Newman and you've got one pleasant movie experience.
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