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Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins

3.8 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Every great story has a magical beginning especially when that story involves the real-life adventures of a unique family of meerkats known as the Whiskers and their most beloved member, Flower. As prequel to the Meerkat Manor television series, this feature film traces the rise of Flower from a young meerkat pup to the leader of the pack. Watch as Flower blooms into a remarkable matriarch and forges a legacy amidst the unforgiving landscape of one of the harshest deserts on the planet the Kalahari. Narrated by Academy Award® -winning actress Whoopi Goldberg, Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins will warm your heart and leave you awed by the magic of Flower s journey.

Amazon.com

Popping Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins into the DVD player and pressing play seems like a guaranteed win-win, and ultimately it is, but oddly enough Whoopi Goldberg's narration detracts from some other wonderful things happening in this feature film. Based on the television series narrated by Sean Astin, this elaborate story of the Whiskers clan crossing the "Great Divide" (the highway) to look for alternate territory is sweet and funny, thanks to the meerkats rather than the sometimes sappy script. In it, Flower is born into a charismatic litter, including Petal, Thumper, and Hazel, who reveal wilderness to be a dangerous place. As Flower witnesses repeated Whisker clan hardships, including battles with various impressive predators, Flower grows into the natural leader that she eventually becomes. Over the course of the story, one meets several matriarchs, both of the Whiskers clan and of their warring tribe, the Lazuli gang. At times, the narration is spot-on, while at other times Goldberg's narration teeters confusingly between documentary and fantasy, between adult and child humor. Not to say there is anything inappropriate here for kids. In fact, one of the films' best attributes is its ability to show death as an integrated part of the life cycle. Additionally, it is a pleasure to witness meerkats at close range, especially during several clan battles set underground. (Baby meerkats abound throughout, making for footage that is quite irresistible!) Told as a folk tale about animals and land who "share secrets every day," Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins may not be Milo & Otis or Babe, but I'll take baby meerkats any day. --Trinie Dalton

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Whoopi Goldberg
  • Directors: Mike Slee, Chris Barker
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: The Weinstein Company
  • DVD Release Date: June 3, 2008
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0017LGQHM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,855 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins DVD

This movie is a tribute to Flower, the matriarch of the Whiskers clan of meerkats in the Kalahari Desert. It follows Flower from the time she was just a pup until she becomes the Matriarch of the whiskers Clan.

If you enjoy Meerkat Manor on Animal Planet, you have to get this movie. I agree that Sean Astin, the regular narrator, would have done a better job narrating than Whoopi.
Highly recommended for fans of Flower, and Meerkat Manor the series.

Gunner May, 2008
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I love Meerkat Manor and I really like Whoopi Goldberg, but she is really awful as the narrator of this film. She mumbles through the whole thing and is often indecipherable. We're essentially watching a nature show, and Whoopi keeps deadpanning jokes and stumbling through the lines in an unnatural way. They should have just kept the same narrator as from the regular show.
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In my opinion, the movie really isn't as bad as everyone says; I've got one problem with it, and that is the actual footage of the Meerkats shown in the movie are just random Meerkats that basically happened to 'do what the film crew wanted them to,' and when they did, they edited the tape together to give us the movie. If the movie was actually filmed like the Meerkat Manor series in which the actual named Meerkats are being filmed in their lives, then the movie would have been much more pleasing.

Whoopi's narrative is a bit different from what viewers may be used to, but I think she adds something 'special' and different for the movie, since the movie IS a bit different from the series. It's a good 'prequel' to the series for someone who has never seen it.

I still favour the series over the movie, but the movie is still worth seeing if you love meerkats and are open-minded to a different narrator.
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SO IT'S NOT ENOUGH that we lost Flower and Mozart in season three, the show's producer, Carolyn Hawkins had to take Sean Astin from us, too. Fans had every reason to expect Astin to return to narrate future seasons - and specials such as "The Story Begins." He led us through Flower's life as a leader of her tribe. Why shouldn't we expect him to tell us about her pup-hood?
Apparently, we are wrong. A letter from Animal Planet advises that human meerkat management decided it was time for women to take over narration duties. Management - I read that "marketing" - wanted a lighter tone: "With ... Flower's passing the show's producer wanted to signal a change for the Whiskers clan and felt the best way to do that was with a new narrator. When Meerkat Manor premieres ... Emmy-award winning Stockard Channing will lend a headstrong voice to the Manor."
Nice call on the "lighter tone" for women, folks. Thanks bunches.
Here's the gripe. Why tamper with perfection? "Meerkat Manor" has become an Animal Planet icon. Ratings are heads and tails better than spin offs such as "Orangutan Island" and the, frankly, offensive "Lemur Kingdom" that cites its critters with stereotypical hip hop characteristics. Not a show I'd want children to watch.
I love Whoopi Goldberg, who narrates "The Story Begins," the story of young Flower. I also enjoy and respect Stockard Channing, but neither have Astin's resonance. Couple Goldberg's voice with the saccharine sweet score that accompanies "Story" and you've got a nauseating 75 minutes to get through.
Meerkat fans should be sure to pick up season three with its incredible true life story and compassionate narrator, who leads us through the triumphs and tragedies of the Kalahari. Don't insult the journey with the new marketing. Do yourself a favor, too, and avoid "The Story Begins." Here, the story ends.
- Kay Reynolds, The Virginian-Pilot
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First of all, I give troyacurtis71 five stars. The movie was very low cost and I recieved the package only 3 days later. Very good service.
However, the movie was terrible. Seriously, the producers butchered the idea of Meerkat Manor. It was fast paced and felt rushed. Also, Goldberg is a TERRIBLE narrator. Throughout the entire movie I felt like she was speaking to a five year old. Don't they realize Meerkat Mannor captured the imagination of more than young children? Also, she exaggerated certain details, making it feel less authentic and professional. I think it could have been a good movie if they used a better narrator, like Sean Astin. There's only a few good points about it: you learn about Flower's past, although I'm not sure how much of it is authentic. I've heard many controversies that some of the details depicted in the movie were inncorect. Although they used different Meerkats to produce the movie, the shots were great and some even adorable. There were WAY too many landscape shots though.
So if you want to see Flower's life in the big screen, and you can deal with the annoying narrator, this movie is for you. It gives you no reason to watch it again. If that's not something you want, I suggest you just look up and read Flower's story.
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I don't understand why some of you people had a problem with Whoopi's narration, it's NOT like she wrote the narrated script, she has to read off of the script handed to her. Now as to the movie itself, it IS just recreated scenes from Meerkat Manor itself, if you've seen MM before you can see repeated scenes from the show, although Petal's death was something I hadn't seen before, I decided to buy the other seasons as I was getting tired of having to wake up so early in the am to watch it.
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