"Mia And The White Lion" is the heartfelt story of an extraordinary friendship between a young girl and a white lion, and her incredible adventure across the South African savanna to give her best friend a new home.
Filmed over the course of three years, the movie centers on a willful young girl named Mia whose life is turned upside down when her family decides to leave London to manage a lion farm in South Africa. When a beautiful white lion, Charlie, is born, Mia finds happiness once again and develops a special bond with the growing cub. As Charlie grows to full size, Mia uncovers an upsettling secret kept hidden by her father. Distraught that Charlie could be in danger, Mia decides to rescue him. The two friends set out on an incredible journey across the South African savanna in search of a sanctuary where Charlie can live out his life in freedom. As a footnote to the theme of this movie: 250,000 wild lions reigned over Africa 100 years ago. Their population has fallen by 90 percent and in 2017, according to experts, there are less than 20,000 left. Lions aren’t considered an “endangered species” but if their numbers continue to fall at the same rate, they will have completely disappeared in the wild in 20 years time. In South Africa, in the past 10 years, over 10,000 lions have been trophy hunted in “canned lion” hunts, a legal industry. They are coming from breeding farms. Most of those farms are not sanctuaries, but places where lion cubs are bred for slaughter, volunteers are duped and tourists are lied to. Support the Kevin Richardson Foundation to help bring an end to “canned lion hunting.” (Gary Reber)
Special feature include an interview with Director Gilles de Maistre (HD 07:25), an interview with Actress Daniah De Villiers (HD 03:32), a making-of featurette (HD 02:56), the featurette "The Extraordinary Friendship" (HD 02:15), five deleted scenes (HD 05:25), casting footage (HD 05:56), the theatrical trailer and a gallery.
The 2.34:1 1080p AVC picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, upconverted to 2160p with greater resolution and luminance, was photographed digitally and sourced from a 2K master Digital Intermediate format. The picture is very televisionish in appearance with a digital presence. Still, the imagery is captivating. The visuals have been edited together during a three-year period of capturing the footage. The picture is bright and vibrant throughout. Colors are strongly saturated with earthy tones accentuated with spots of strong color. Fleshtones can be very orange when they are naturally rendered. Contrast is decent but shadow delineation is weak. Black levels also are acceptable. Resolution is good, exhibiting a sharp image. Facial features, hair, clothing and object textures are nicely defined, especially during close-ups. Charlie's fur is nicely defined throughout the time-aging sequence. This is a very engaging movie and colorful picture with incredible photography that nicely captures the essence of life on the lion farm, though, what happens to the adult lions is very disturbing. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is very frontal soundstage loaded with dialogue that is unnaturally forward sounding with poor ADR spatial integration and at times is unintelligible. Throughout, the orchestral music score provides effective soundstage dimension and soundfield envelopment. Foley sound effects are realistic. Lion sounds are nicely captured and realistic. Surround energy is enveloping, providing an enhanced dimensional soundfield. Briefly, at times, there is some surround directionality, such as animal sounds. Vehicle sounds and road noise are very realistic. Overall, this is a quite-forward-sounding soundtrack with a weak layering of sound elements. (Gary Reber)