Review of “Beast”: Idris Elba’s monster flick makes you long for “Anaconda”

A demonic lion receives a complex past in the new film “Beast,” just like Liam Neeson did in “Taken.”

Why is Scary Simba ruthlessly stalking Nate (Idris Elba) and his two young kids (Leah Sava Jeffries and Iyana Halley) while also killing African villagers for sport? The great cat snapped and went rogue when the evil poachers slaughtered his pride.

In “Jaws,” “Anaconda,” or “Lake Placid,” I don’t remember ever feeling sorry for the vicious beasts. But I felt bad for this vicious, widowed lion who was determined to exact revenge on the cute cubs and lionesses who had died.

Although one of Nate’s daughters even sports a “Jurassic Park” T-shirt in an early scene, this is a movie where we need to want man (or at least the decent ones) to triumph. We never gave the shark a drink. There were no sobs for raptors! These tales lack emotional depth and are campy, and the conclusion of this one leaves you feeling bad.

Following the passing of his ex-wife, Nate takes his daughters to a remote savanna. He believes it would be beneficial for the kids to feel a connection to the location because the couple spent happy years there, he as a doctor and his wife as a wildlife photographer. What a brilliant idea that was to begin with.

They go on safari with Nate’s old friend Martin (Sharlto Copley) on their first day there, and while exploring, the party comes across a devasted village where Kitty Cat Cujo is waiting for them.

Naturally, after their car hits a tree, the rest of the movie shows them foolishly leaving the vehicle, running back inside while terrified, and attempting to dodge the creature but failing.

There are some good jump scares, and Elba offers a restrained performance considering the circumstances. Because his children think he abandoned them while their mother was ill, the writers distanced him from them emotionally to give his character more heft. The only method for a father to win back his kids’ love is to save them from a dangerous lion.

But Mr. Whiskers is the key to everything. Even if the lion scares you, his CGI animation is only acceptable, so he never feels completely authentic. Baltasar Kormákur’s film loses its excitement after a few initial shocks since the creature has run out of surprises. He simply jumps out of the window once more.

The grand finale battle is also ridiculous. Nate would be mauled to death in five seconds if this were reality.