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March comes in like a lion with Clay Center film

WANT TO GO?

"Roar: Lions of the Kalahari"

WHEN: Saturday through July 6

WHERE: Clay Center ElectricSky Theater

SHOWTIMES: noon, 1, 3 and 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 1, 3 and 4 p.m. Sunday

TICKETS: Film only: adults $7.50, children $6.50; with gallery and planetarium: adults $14.50, children $12

INFO: 304-561-3570 or www.theclaycenter.org

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Lions roar and rule in "Roar: Lions of the Kalahari," the Clay Center's new giant-screen film opening Saturday at their ElectricSky theater.

Set against the backdrop of the parched African savanna, "Roar" follows the life of an elder lion. His kingdom is a prized watering hole populated by a herd of bushbuck deer and visited by elephants. He's attended by a pair of sister lionesses, including one who is pregnant with his cubs.

The old lion is in decline while a younger, perhaps fiercer lion waits on the border of his kingdom, plotting and scheming, and waiting for his chance to usurp the old lion, take his land and his lionesses.

It is an exciting and entertaining film, both beautiful to look at and with an engaging story. Quite simply, it's one of the best the Clay Center has ever offered.

Not all ElectricSky films are equal; some are naturally better than others. The concave screen works more impressively with certain kinds of films (panoramic landscapes, which surround the viewer) and not nearly so well with others (films about tall buildings, which tend to warp like a Dali painting).

"Roar: Lions of the Kalahari" works exceptionally well. The giant size format makes the fearsome and gigantic lions appear even more fearsome and gigantic. The story grows, too, changing from a standard wildlife documentary to an epic about the end of an empire.

It also sounds amazing.

"Roar" is full of drama and a certain amount of violence. Lions do not play well with others, and it is undeniably fascinating to watch how these great cats hunt and kill. Still, "Roar" is not especially bloody. The lions pounce on deer. The lions and lionesses scrap and outright try to kill each other, but the filmmakers don't dwell on the gore and carnage.

Other than a single scene where a couple of lions polish off the bloody ribs of an animal, it's mostly just the thrill of the hunt, not the bloody aftermath. Very young children might be frightened by it, but most school age children would probably be just fine with it. Mostly, they'd come away thinking what they thought before the theater darkened and the film started: lions are cool.

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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