3.5/10 Not to be confused with the imaginary “X-Men” spinoff of your favorite blue mutant, “Beast” is for lions on land what “Jaws” was to sharks in the ocean…except if “Jaws” was a terrible movie, with idiotic characters and mediocre CGI. While not every single element of this creature feature is a disaster, I still can’t help but wonder what a great thespian like Idris Elba is doing here, wasting his talent. I would have rather seen a “Zootopia” sequel (since Elba was in that film) if he wanted to scratch his animal itch. As for what works, Elba does the best he can do with the weak script presented to him and the supporting cast, particularly Sharlto Copley as Martin Battles, do the best they can given this material as well. Coming in at roughly an hour and a half, the movie moves quickly and won’t waste your time. The main inciting incident happens early enough along to draw your attention in. There are some genuine moments of excitement and terror when our antagonist lion is attacking our protagonists. The score was also passable; nothing memorable but gets the job done. Other than those positives, it is downhill everywhere else. Part of the story is that Dr. Nate Samuels (Elba) takes his two daughters for an African getaway after their mother/his ex-wife dies of cancer. There are several moments early on that are meant to be emotional with Nate’s eldest daughter upset that he wasn’t around enough when her mother was dying. Despite valiant efforts from the actors during these scenes, they aren’t nearly as emotional as they are supposed to be because we got no time with the girls’ mother in the movie. We see brief snippets of her via dreams and hallucinations but since we don’t know her and never see her interaction with her daughters, her death feels hollow and meaningless. Even a couple of flashback scenes with the family together during good times before everything went south would have been an improvement so we cared about her death. The next biggest problem is that, like in most horror movies, characters make the dumbest decisions imaginable. Whether it is Dr. Samuels insisting on following Battles everywhere he goes unarmed when he knows a lion is around that just attacked or Nate’s daughter leaving the safety of the vehicle right after Nate told her not to, there are multiple instances of characters doing the dumbest things possible. When our protagonists enter a safe building, they inexplicably leave all of the doors open so any and all lions could walk right on in after smelling their spilt blood. You could chalk up one mistake to losing your mind due to the stress of the situation but when multiple characters make multiple decisions that put themselves and others in harm’s way, there is no excuse except for bad screenwriting. While it is obvious as to why this wasn’t filmed with real lions, CGI still has a ways to go when it comes to bringing animals to life and “Beast” is no exception. Finally, we understand why this lion is doing what it’s doing but that never accounts for its superhero like strength to survive things that a lion would not and could not survive. Why does this seemingly normal lion (with the exception to that rule being that it is slightly larger in size) become able to get hit with a tranquilizer dart and have the effects of the dart wear off after about ten minutes? How can this lion survive an explosion and catching on fire and yet remain not only alive but not shaken up at all? The lion is way too strong and supernatural in its abilities that I wasn’t buying it for a second. This movie wants to be “Jaws” on land but it ends up closer to “Cujo”, 1998’s “Godzilla” or one of the horrible “Anaconda” movies. While films like “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy did wonders for New Zealand’s tourism, “Beast” will give you 100 reasons to never want to go to Africa and another 100 reasons to not go to theaters to waste your time on this.

#SecondblandLions / #OurManeCompetition / #PrideComethBeforeTheBrawl / #MyPrideOrDie / #MartinBattlesALion / #Cats2

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