Dr Nate Samuels (Idris Elba) travels to South Africa with his two daughters, Meredith and Leah, after a family member recently passed away. Nate feels it would be ideal for his family to take a break and reconnect with a close friend of the family named Martin (Sharlto Copley). Upon arrival in Africa, Nate is reunited with Martin, who welcomes him and his daughters into his home. Here, we learn that Nate is feeling sad and struggling to move forward after the recent family tragedy. At times Nate even struggles to bond and connect with his daughters.
The next day, the four take a tour admiring the scenery and animals running in their habitat. While the group enjoy themselves, their sightseeing is interrupted when Martin makes a huge discovery about one of the local lions. He begins questioning some suspicious activity, possibly from poachers. As Nate and Martin advance, they find a huge lion close by who is not in a good mood and begins to hunt them. Now Martin, Nate and his two daughters must attempt to survive and escape from an ultimate, fierce, bloodthirsty predator.
Beast is best described as an adventure film with moments of drama, and perhaps depending on the viewers, watching a large lion looking for its next meal could also be classed a horror. The film does contain a few solid jump scares. Having seen the film’s trailer, I formed my opinions about what the film would be and what direction the story would take. Having seen the film, I can confirm that my assumptions were correct. I still proudly enjoyed this movie, even if the beats and story are highly familiar, and some may even say generic.
Actor Idris Elba was a great highlight. His character isn’t strong enough to take on a big lion, but he carries some common sense, wits, and a passion for doing what’s right to protect the ones closest to him. He’s a likeable character who is also dealing with a past hurt that will take time to heal. The side performance from Sharlto Copley was also great. The actor displays a sympathetic character toward Nate and his family but is also confident and wise in the chaos of being hunted. While both display a fun performance, Nate’s daughters are extremely cliché. They deliver the typical banter of teenage girls, but their actions are often highly questionable. Their actions will annoy some viewers mostly because they are either unwise, silly, or perhaps, again, it’s all just familiar territory in the land of cinema.
The visuals deliver plenty to admire. Viewers will enjoy the tracking shots of lead actors wandering around. After watching the film, I even questioned how some shots were done because I was impressed by what I witnessed. The CGI was equally impressive, with only one scene showing that there’s a fake lion within the same scene as a key character. Regardless, viewers will feel fairly convinced based on the special effects and great work in all the finer details on-screen.
Overall, while the film is familiar with a predictable finale, I still found it successfully entertained me and delivered exactly what I expected going into it. Pacing is generally great but slower in the second act, with moments that are either familiar or cliché. The performance from Idris Elba is likeable and great to see. The visuals are impressive, including great-looking CGI plus tracking shots that will have audiences questioning how certain moments were captured. No matter its minor flaws, Beast is bloody, fierce, and delivers a roaring good time.