Beast

If you’ve seen Cujo and Jurassic Park, substitute a crazed lion in the role of the scary starring animal and you’re ready for an hour and a half of “Lion King Goes Wrong.” And we’re not talking about Mufasa. Think Scar, the ugly brother with an attitude.
There are three primary lines of dialogue in Beast. First is, “Stay here, don’t go anywhere,” which is frequently spoken by Dr. Nate Samuels to his two teenage daughters. Of course, they never listen, wandering off into clearly risky situations that multiply the dangerous plot lines.
 
The others are, “I’ll be right back,” and “I promise you everything will be ok,” often used together. The promise is the source of a poorly timed outburst by Samuels’ older daughter Meredith, angry over the split up of her parents and the subsequent death of her mother. Apparently, Doc Samuels made unkept promises in the past. But seriously, you’re going to bring this up while stranded in a broken-down vehicle under attack by an insane lion? 
 
The parallels with Jurassic Park become obvious once you make that connection. Early in the film, Meredith is seen wearing that film’s t-shirt. Trapped in a Jeep, falling over a cliff, a leading male actor with an injured leg, keep looking. The lion did everything but eat someone sitting in an outhouse. The fear of being eaten is a real crowd pleaser.
 
Of course, Doc Samuels, played by Idris Elba, has the skills needed to suture his friend’s leg wound using a readily available medical kit while under attack in the Jeep. Idris Elba’s name sounds like an anagram for something: Perhaps Ladies Rib, Bride Lisa and Ariel Bids (another Disney reference,) but that’s just silly.
 
Beast is exciting, however ludicrous. Eventually lions are both hero and villain. Poachers are bad guys, and anti-poachers are bad guys to the bad guys. The message here may be, if you want to see African wildlife, Disney World’s Animal Kingdom may be a better choice.
 
Baltasar Kormákur, whose work includes Everest and The Deep, does a good job of maintaining action and suspense. The movie was actually filmed in South Africa over a period of ten weeks. At 6-foot-2 plus, Elba has the necessary physicality to fight a lion with a knife, wade through crocodile-infested swamps and catch a snake mid-strike, all questionable decisions.
 
Also questionable was the decision not to cast Elba’s real-life daughter in the role of Meredith, after which she didn’t speak to him for three weeks. Perfect for the angry daughter role.
 
We saw Beast on National Cinema Day for a ticket price of $3.00. That seemed about right.

Beast

If you’ve seen  Cujo  and  Jurassic Park , substitute a crazed lion in the role of the scary starring animal and you’re ready for an hour an...