"Le loup et le lion" or "The Wolf and the Lion" is a co-production between France and Canada from 2021. I am not sure what the main language is here. The actors seem to be rather from the English-language parts of Canada, but it says French here on imdb or at least that both languages are included. I myself watched the German dub, which was not always a winner, like when it talked about chihuahuas from Beverly Hills, but this was maybe the same in the original. Anyway, I am jumping too quickly into the plot now, let's look at the basics first. The poster looks a bit staged here on imdb, but the animals you see in this movie are real and authentic and not animated as you could think from the photo that comes with this movie. The film stays slightly under the 100-minute mark, so not a particularly short or long movie we have here. The writer and director is Gilles de Maistre from France and this may explain why France is a production country here. It is not the first time he has made a film about a girl and a lion, even if the female in this film is a bit older than Mia. And this time it is the wolf that is white and not the lion. If you have seen the older film I am talking about, you can surely easily make the connection here. The two movies felt indeed very similar in terms of style and approach. Lead actress is Molly Kunz and she is pretty stunning to say the least. For the rest of the cast you can check out the list yourself with the exception of Graham Greene. He is an Oscar nominee, now pretty old and his by far most known film is Dances with Wolves, so definitely no coincidence that he is a part of this wolf-themed film here too. It also maybe does not say the very best about his career, but let's not be mean. He was okay here given the material he had to work with. The other actors I cannot say too much about because I simply don't know them. I see at least one of them is related to the filmmaker. Here and there, the smaller characters did feel a bit like caricatures honestly, especially when they aimed at comedy. But the writing there is at least as much to blame as the performers. Oh and I see de Maistre's next film is apparently about jaguars? Or at least it includes the word in the title, so maybe similar territory like this one.
Now let's dive into the story: I must say I cringed a bit early on with how the film begins. There is simply so much going on that it does not feel authentic anymore. The lion who gets caught to be taken to the circus, the airplane crash, the wolf/wolves and the lion cub really showing up in Alma's life at the exact same time and so on. Alma is also a bit of a pretentious first name here. If I am not mistaken, it means "soul". Of course, Alma is also a bit of a music genius and the scene at the very start when we find out about her dedication felt exaggerated too. She wants to be perfect, but not much later she does not care about the music at all anymore because nature and wildlife from her grandfather's world have become much more important to her. Her parents are also dead apparently and we do not know why. Her grandfather died just really recently. Of course, she also manages to pass this really important piano exam and become one of the elite three, even if at that point she already does not care about it anymore. Another thing I did not like with this film was how it just went way too much for harmony and perfection. Not just in terms of Alma, but also how it all had to be really harmless. We are told that the pilot will be alright. Alma makes a really, really fast recovery after her concussion. Love has to be included at least in an implied sense with the wolf guy and Alma. Nothing specific, but Greene's character says something that shows us what romantic direction this film was about to be heading. In other words, here and there the film had the "potential" to be an international big screen equivalent of these truly awful ARD Degeto films. It was never that low luckily and in the second half the cringe becomes a bit less thank God. It is still there on a few occasions. If you like stuff like the little affair Greene's character had with a minor character and how this is a bit of a running gag is up to you.
For me, the highlight is of course the animal aspect. The wolf and the lion are incredibly cute, impressive and awesome and sometimes the comedy also works nicely with them like when Alma returns from her rehearsal and sees the mess they came up with. Those are the heart and soul of the film. By the way, the protagonist here physically reminded me of Emma Stone for sure. Music is okay too. My favorite song / music inclusion was when we hear a pretty catchy tune that unfortunately I had difficulties to find afterwards and I am talking about the two-minute sequence when Alma thinks about how she could name the two predators. Extremely playful moment. Yeah, admittedly the entire concussion scene was a bit much too in terms of pseudo drama or how we are told right afterwards how the wolf and the lion saved Alma's life through their warm bodies. Admittedly, the film is a bit melodramatic here and there. The ending was okay I guess. I am talking about the scene in which the lion seems to have died (or sacrificed himself for the others as they melodramatically want us to think again) and I thought he was actually dead, but no he shows up again soon and there is a fully happy ending. For the younger ones in the audience, there is also a brief speech from the protagonist at the very end that lions and wolves do not belong together and these two there are really the ultimate exception. Good stuff. As I said before, it was really important to the filmmakers (I should cut the s and simply say De Maistre) that the film stays totally harmless. When the bad guy (or the one who is closest to a bad guy, he is not evil either) is eventually taken care of, this also happens in the most harmless manner. His son convinces him that this is not the life he wants for his dad or himself. And they walk off and daddy is ready to take a new direction in terms of his job choices. This entire son character was a bit too stereotypical, also how he enters the car with our "heroes" and says he does not care at all about his father right now.
What else can I say? Oh yes, the male love interest character he was alright I guess. I still struggled to see why he would not simply go for the transmitter signal, but instead visit Alma because, as we are told, only she can solve this mess. Initially, I thought he was distracting his colleague on purpose, but he was really just a bit on the clumsy side I guess. His talking about how he thought Alma was really nuts was admittedly a bit funny, but the duo's encounter on the island then was just strange and awkward and the characters did not behave even remotely close to how they would have behaved in real life with one constantly running after the other and it ends with a statement on manliness linked to swimming in cold water. So yeah, the best way to enjoy and maybe even appreciate this film is when you don't expect any authenticity or realism and just see it for the lead actress' stunning looks and the nature aspect and perhaps even as a bit of a guilty pleasure somehow. The landscapes are quite beautiful no denying. You wouldn't mind being there. You also see many other animals here, not just the two mentioned in the title. You get eagles (very briefly), owls, rabbits, raccoons, other wolves etc. Just try to not look too much at the (pseudo) drama site like the girl's fall or the entire scene when it happens that there are a mother and her daughter near the island the exact moment of course when the lion and wolf managed to get away. Come on. Or how the two animals do find each other near the end despite the big geographical distance was a bit gooey as well. I liked though how Alma did not take herself too seriously, but knew it was about the two finding each other and not finding her. Okay.
Something else I found way too obvious was how the lion's name in the circus was Monster. More subtlety please. Still, the anti-circus message is a good one and I support for sure. Nice to see some circuses do completely without animals these days. Oh and I just wrote there are other wolves in here too. So I must add there are other lions too. Alma cannot save those, but there is still the time to hug one of them. As for her own lion, I kept wondering why he did not really have a mane if it is a male lion, but I guess it just comes a little bit later then. We do see it right before the closing credits. On one occasion I thought that the wolf who was the mother showed us a piece of anatomy where I thought it was actually a male wolf, but I could be wrong there. I am not a biologist and it was a very brief shot. Okay, this is it then. I give this film a thumbs-up overall, even if it was a close call here and there. Some of the dialogue writing was a bit messed up, also what they had to say about the deceased old man early on and how he wants to be buried. Too much again. Many other examples. Don't have to state them all for you to get the message. As I already said, the film does get better in the second half (even if the first half was not horrible either and had its moments), so it makes sense to hand out a positive recommendation now. A cautious one though and maybe it would be a good idea for De Maistre to leave the screenplay writing to someone else next time. Direction and camera work are absolutely okay. Go see this one. Preferrably with your (inner) child that loves animals, especially wild animals. (tt10945288)
The Wolf and the Lion
The Wolf and the Lion
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A wolf pup and a lost lion cub are rescued by a girl in the heart of the Canadian wilderness. Their friendship will change their lives forever.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 30, 2022 at 03:29 AM