Parents' Guide to

Age of Big Cats

By Angelica Guarino, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Uncensored view of animal kingdom is harsh but educational.

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Aside from any examination of its educational value or the format or narration, this docuseries has an immediate advantage -- there is no substitute for seeing real footage of animal interactions. Is it almost certain that most people will never see these animals outside of enclosed zoos, especially in extremely close proximity. The animal world is both beautiful and shocking, and it's probable that most viewers will be enthralled by what Age of Big Cats has to show them. The wildlife photography is fantastic -- even slow-motion shots of gazelles running across plains allow viewers to see these animals in a totally new way; it helps humans better understand how these animals move and think.

However, Age of Big Cats is not for the faint of heart. Outside of news stories, it's difficult to find television as realistic and devastating as watching crocodiles, raccoons, and jaguars feast on several just-hatched baby turtles. While these images are not necessarily inappropriate for children, viewers should be prepared for an educational but uncensored view of the animal world. Viewers both young and adult may find that watching multiple episodes of Age of Big Cats in a row can get to be overwhelming. Seeing the big cats hunt remains visually engaging throughout the three-episode series, but there's a lot of animal blood and internal organs shown. During one scene, a jaguar silently kills a large sea turtle by suffocating its head in the sand. Instead of eating the turtle, the jaguar immediately kills another one the same way. In most situations, viewers can find easy justification for large predator hunts because all animals need to eat enough to stay alive. It's much harder to understand this behavior rather than hunger-driven behavior. Moments like this are what adults should be preparing not only kid viewers for but themselves as well, perhaps asking, "Is it necessary that I watch this happen?" and "What am I looking to learn from this?"

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