Idris Elbas' chances of playing James Bond may not be as good these days, but the actors have a lot of fish to fry in his latest film, the king of the jungle. The family soon discovers themselves being pursued by a huge, deadly lion in a battle for their lives.
Beast knows that its greatest asset is its feral wildcat, and it does not quite know what to do with itself when its not around. When it comes to the dangers of being trapped in an African savannah without communication, it leaves a lot on the table, and is happy to do the minimum when it comes to what might be referred to as human stuff.
Despite its promising concept, IndieWire's Kate Erbland gives it a C (Idris Elba fights a lion?). The opening sequence, while entertaining, invokes too much sympathy for the antagonist, and the characters make frustratingly cliched horror movie choices, she adds:
When Beast goes full terror, it delivers. Despite often showing signs of intelligence, Nate and the girls crumble into scary film tropes when confronted with their furred foe.
The Wrap's William Bibbiani claims there are certainly worse ways to spend 93 minutes, but the film overall lacks substance, except when it comes to cinematography.
Beast's MVP is veteran cinematographer Philippe Rousselot, who creates long, complex scenes that give the film a remarkable visual clarity. The director (Everest) cannot rely on quick-fire editing to make these scenes compelling; the scares cannot arise out of nowhere. This is a film that makes viewers hyper-aware of the dangerous surroundings, which makes them search every detail for clues of a slugged-off lion.
Brian Truitt of USA TODAY (opens in new tab) seems to be in agreement with other critics, rating Beast 2.5 out of 4 stars. These are lukewarm compliments, and likely a departure from what one would like to describe their film, even if we are in the dregs of summer.
The movie finds its way and gives us some decent jump scares before sinking into a far-fetched fantasy: As the four-legged lion makes his presence felt, Copley somehow states with a straight face.
Josh Spiegel of SlashFilm rates Beast at a five-out-of-ten, but says it delivers exactly what it promises: Idris Elba fighting a lion with his bare hands. Its a ridiculous movie, based on a ridiculous notion, that fits right in with summertime movie fare, according to the critic:
Beast isn't a great shakes, but it's also a rare enough summer film, in that it knows its limitations, it delivers on its promises, and it doesn't mislead the point. In some ways, Beast seems like it would be more suitable as something you catch while folding laundry on a slow Sunday rather than paying to see it in theaters.
Does Beast sound like something you might want to see? It may be seen in theaters starting Friday, August 19. Check out some of Idris Elbas' other upcoming projects, and begin planning your next movie visit with our 2022 Movie Release Schedule.