Masai Mara: The Big Hunt

TV review by
Monica Encarnacion, Common Sense Media
Masai Mara: The Big Hunt TV Poster Image
Captivating nature film, stunning visuals but intense peril.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Positive messages surrounding loyalty and bravery and how animals protect and care for each other when they are part of a group or family. Strong bonds between mothers and their offspring -- mothers take care of their young and make sure they're adequately prepared to face their environment.

Positive Role Models

Even predators are shown to prioritize taking care of their family members and even the most vicious predator can be a caring mother. It's difficult to see animals as role models as they go about their natural lives, but there are instances where animal mothers are shown caring for their young, feeding them and teaching them how to hunt, showing us that even in the wild, mothers take care of their children.

Diverse Representations

No other region in Africa is home to a larger multitude of animals than the Masai Mara -- a southwest region of Kenya known as the land of the Masai. The narrator explains that the semi-nomadic pastors that live in this region are known as Masai. They live off their herds of cattle and are known to be excellent warriors.

Violence

Nature can be violent, and this documentary shows the drama of life and death that takes place in the Masai Mara. Vultures feast on dead wildebeests, zebras and wildebeests are hunted by lions and attacked and eaten by crocodiles as they cross the Mara River. Graphic, sometimes bloody scenes of lions and vultures ripping the meat off a carcass.

Sex

The mating period and mating rituals of different animals are briefly discussed.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while there is much to learn about animal behavior in Masai Mara: The Big Hunt, some life and death scenes might be too intense for younger viewers.This wildlife documentary centers on the age-old theme of the hunted and the hunters, and the drama of life and death that takes place when animals migrate and survive among the wildlife of the Masai Mara region in Kenya. Nature can be beautiful, yet violent. Expect to learn fascinating details about how animals live and survive in the wild, but because of its occasionally graphic realism, parents may want to pre-screen this docufilm to make sure it's appropriate for their kids. Expect intense hunt scenes -- graphic scenes of animals being killed and eaten by predators such as crocodiles, lions, and vultures.

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What's the story?

MASAI MARA: THE BIG HUNT is a nature documentary that provides an in-depth look at animal life along the Mara River in Kenya. As food supply in the Serengeti dwindles, black wildebeests, gazelles, zebras, antelopes, giraffes, elephants and many others, make their yearly trip from the south of the Serengeti to the north. They reach the Masai Mara region only to find nature’s best laid trap, the Mara River, it's predators patiently awaiting their arrival. And no protagonist can match the killer that comes out of the water -- the crocodile. Captivating shots filmed underwater show how crocodiles prepare for the Big Hunt, while other predators lurk on the banks awaiting their bounty. There are stunning combats, heavy weight conflicts, and also touching family scenes where protective moms care for their young.

Is it any good?

This 50 minute documentary gives us a fascinating look into African wildlife and covers the great migration as never before. Masai Mara: The Big Hunt teaches viewers about a multitude of animals, presenting us with scenes that are beautiful, scary, and sometimes just downright cute. Kids will learn about wild animals -- hippos, zebras, cheetahs, lions, giraffes, buffalos, elephants, and crocodiles, just to name a few. There's plenty to learn about these animals' physical and social characteristics, and their behaviors as they migrate and survive among the wildlife of the Masai Mara. Aside from learning about the hunt and the hunted, kids may be surprised to learn that even the most vicious hunter can be an extremely caring mother -- a mother crocodile gently places her young inside her mouth in order to safely transport them into the water. A Lioness plays with her cubs after hunting down and devouring a meal and we are told that mother hyenas suckle their young for a year, longer than other hunters.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the big migration. Why are animals in Masai Mara: The Big Hunt moving north? How do climate and seasons affect their natural habitat? Why is the Mara River an ideal location for these migratory animals?

  • How does learning about wildlife promote curiosity? What animal are you interested in learning more about? Which of these animal's behaviors prompted you to want to learn more? Why?

  • How can we do our part to take care of wildlife?

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