The Legend of Letsatsi
For years the people of the Shangaan longer for the return of a white lion to their African valley as a white lion was believed to be a messenger from the Gods. So when a white lion cub is spotted a young Shangaan man Gisani (Thabo Malema/John Kani) finds himself watching over the cub which gets named Letsatsi. When Letsatsi ends up cast out from the pride and forced to fend for itself, struggling till it befriends an older lion who work together to hunt food, all the time Gisani keeping at watchful eye over the magnificent white lion. When Gisani takes a job as a tracker for a hunter he does so to prevent tragedy and to allow Letsatsi to grow into a full male and leader of a pride.
Look, I know that "White Lion" whilst a family movie is really aimed at young children but it does mean that adults will end up watching it and might find it hard going as I did. And the simple reason is that the use of a narrator to tell the story makes it monotonous and incredibly hard to get into. It has nothing to do with John Kani who as the older Gisani narrates the movie as his voice has depth and warmth but the actual story of Letsatsi isn't that enthralling.
And that is a crying shame as visually "White Lion" is a stunning wild life movie which follows this adorable white cub into adulthood. It delivers all the points you expect from early playfulness, tragedy, danger from both predators and human hunters as well as some filler footage of wildlife such as butterflies and bugs and so on. At times the perfection of the visual makes it feel too constructed rather than natural but it is visually eye grabbing and for young children the beautiful images combined with a cute white lion should entertain.
What this all boils down to is that "White Lion" whilst a beautiful looking movie with some extraordinary footage of wildlife struggles when it comes to telling an interesting story. As such young children might enjoy it because of the look but it struggles to keep those paying attention to the story enthralled. It might not have been the intention but the outcome of this is a movie which far too often feels like a nature documentary which someone has tried to develop into a movie by the use of a narrator and a story.