Meerkats have been gaining ground in the media since The Lion King's Timon showed up on the scene more than 10 years ago. Their humanlike tendency to stand on their hind legs might be one reason, and their hilariously expectant demeanor is certainly another. Directors Chris Barker and Mike Slee use both to great advantage in this amazing adventure that uses real footage of wild African meerkats to tell the story of a spunky young female named Flower. The mix of ingenious editing, evocative narration by Whoopi Goldberg, and the stunning beauty of South Africa's wilds make this a delightful experience for children and adults. Young Flower, the hope of her family, must fulfill her destiny by clearing the hurdles that Nature throws her way-be it snakes, neighboring gangs, or just the unyielding cruelty of the barren Kalahari desert. The rhythm-rich soundtrack of traditional South African music perfectly accompanies the astonishing shots of natural majesty that leave you wondering, how did they film that? The camera flies with the hawks and then dives underground to show claustrophobic footage of the meerkats in their dark burrows. They don't hesitate to play the outrageously adorable card, either-the plentiful baby meerkats rank high on the list of nature's little cuties. In an era when kids are inundated with animation, and species are disappearing by the day, this refreshingly real film will naturally inspire wonder at the truth Goldberg speaks in the film's opening: "The animals and the land share secrets every single day."
Chris Barker has a degree in earth sciences and worked as a field biologist before working as a researcher, cameraman, editor, writer, director, and producer. He worked on The Ten Deadliest Snakes with Steve Irwin. Currently, Barker is working on a 13-part series about the lives of elephants in southern Kenya. Mike Slee trained in postproduction on David Attenborough's BBC series Life on Earth and The Living Planet. He then partnered in the British independent production company Principal. Slee directed the Oscar® short-listed Bugs! 3D for IMAX as well as numerous films for National Geographic, Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, PBS.