Plot: What’s it about?
George Adamson (Richard Harris) has continued his battle to preserve wildlife, as well as the areas they inhabit. He now runs a game reserve called Kora, where the animals are allowed to live in peace and be safe, but some outsiders have started to change all that. It seems some poachers have been moving in on the land, as well as some natives, all of whom seek to take down the animals for their own personal gains. The elephants and rhinos are hunted for their tusks, while lions are stalked for their pelts, all in the name of some cold, hard cash. But of course, Adamson has no intentions of letting this continue, so he and his assistant Tony Fitzjohn (John Michie) have to make some plans fast, to be sure. The task seems imposing and Adamson is just one man, but he has overcome the odds before and of course, he plans to do so again this time.
Based on the real life events around nature defender George Adamson, To Walk With Lions is a solid, worthwhile picture. I never heard a peep about the film in theaters, but it did make some festival rounds, then sat on a shelf until this home video release. The movie has some gorgeous landscape photography, which showcase the lush plains and other areas, it lacks the visual punch it needs here. You see, this disc features a transfer which has been cropped from 2.35:1 and in the process, much of the beautiful scenery has been lopped off, which is a real shame. But while the pan & scan makes it a little tough to watch at times, the movie is decent enough and features some nice performances. Some of the actors involved include Richard Harris (Smilla’s Sense of Snow), Ian Bannen (Waking Ned Devine), and Honor Blackman (Goldfinger), as well as an ample and talented supporting cast. So while the flick is worth a look, the lack of effort with this disc forces me to recommend just a rental, as the pan & scan transfer is unacceptable.
Video: How does it look?
To Walk With Lions is presented in a full frame transfer, which is not good news. I noted many scenes that seemed cropped and not just a little, I mean full on pan & scan. I am unsure why Fox would release a non widescreen edition of this movie, but they’ve done it and that is a real disappointment. The lush scenic shots are now half as impressive as they should be, while even normal shots seem cramped, very uncool treatment here. The print is clean, colors look good, and contrast is well balanced, but the pan & scan issue sinks this one. I really can’t believe Fox has issued a pan & scan title, but the treatment makes this movie almost unwatchable.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio fares much better than the video, but still doesn’t measure up to other recent releases. The included audio option is clean and offers a pleasant experience, but it never allows the material much room, which is a let down. The nature scenes seem to demand a full surround track, but instead we get this one and it never gets off the ground, if you ask me. The elements sound decent, but they should sound great, or at least somewhat immersive. This is by no means a bad track, it just doesn’t live up to the potential of the material. This disc also includes English subtitles, in case you’ll need those.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes some talent files, as well as the film’s trailer.