Tiger (2024) Review – a satisfying & respectful salute to Earth Day

On Earth Day, Disneynatures’s documentary Tiger reinforces the need to protect the endangered

Released on Disney+ today, in honor of Earth Day, the subtitle for Tiger might be something like, ‘Everyone’s gotta eat.’ And after watching, you’d forgive the toothy beauties for doing so.

Unexpectedly, the tigers are charmingly personified, without making them silly, through story arcs that are one with nature and perhaps your own childhood – out in the wild and learning the ropes. The striking cinematography and subtle music overlayed with the sounds of the forest, offers an engaging picture. You’ll be cheering for the sweet but ferocious predators in no time.

Set in India – don’t let the audio in the trailer above dishearten you – it’s narrated by the clear and soothing voice of Priyanka Chopra Jones (Love Again, To Kill a Tiger, Quantico, The Matrix Resurrections). That feels like exactly the right choice with the main character a tigress. 

Of the project, Chopra Jones says, “It’s just wonderful to be able to be a part of something so special and to tell the story of this magnificent animal that comes from my country—I was very honored,” Chopra Jonas said. “I have always loved tigers and I feel a kinship with the female tiger—I feel very protective of my family. Ambar’s journey is something I think every mom would really relate to.”

Priyanka Chopra Jones narrates Disneynature’s Tiger

The cameras follow Ambar as she protects and orients her cubs in the less-than-friendly forest. Naming the tiger and her cubs within the first few minutes makes the imposing killers sympathetic. They become more familial as the cubs’ traits are remarked upon – Ivy likes to climb; Ravi is the adventurer; Golu is wonderfully clumsy; and Charm, the smallest, is shy. As up-and-coming hunters, the quadruplets are fuzzy and adorable as they tumble along. There are even some comical moments, like frogs jumping on a resting adult tiger to catch hovering flies, clearly demonstrating the symbiosis of the forest.

With a landscape that is at turns, beautiful, astounding and frightening, tension is gradually raised as we follow the chronology of the cubs’ growth. There are more things than you might think for tigers to fear – pythons, sloth bears, crocodiles, vultures and other territorial male tigers. And even while we do see animals feed, the focus is not on the most vicious moments, making it more tolerable than some wildlife reality shows as well as more family-friendly.

For the typically reclusive tigers, in addition to their equally fierce forest mates, they must also contend with a united band of prey. Their ‘forest warning system,’ shouts out alarms when a tiger is on the move. This alliance is so effective that 19 out of 20 tiger hunts fail. With survival in mind, Ambar must maintain a strategy. As we’re talking about life in the wild here, much like Game of Thrones or Attack on Titan, the producers are unafraid to lose a main character. It is what it is.

Directed by Mark Linfield (Underdogs), co-directed by Vanessa Berlowitz (America’s National Parks) and Rob Sullivan (Amazon with Bruce Parry) and produced by Linfield, Berlowitz and Roy Conli (Big Hero 6), Tiger is the result of 1,500 days of filming in the national parks of India. The music was composed by Nitin Sawhney CBE.

With close-ups in what seems like tight spaces, the team credits various types of long lenses, gimbals and remote cameras, making it possible to capture previously unseen intimate family moments. The 1:29 minute run-time feels like it might be long – I was happy with our progress by the end of the first hour. But if you hang on for the full circle, there’s even a little romance. The story draws to a close with an update 2 years after the main content, now that you’re familiar with the players. And brings with it hope for the next generation.

Now numbering 3600+ in India (70% of the world’s population), wild tigers have doubled over the last 15 years following generations of decline. Credit goes to the national parks of India, passionate protectors of the species.

As a a companion piece for Earth Day, Disney+ is also, from today, streaming Tigers on the Rise. Narrated by Blair Underwood, it celebrates the remarkable comeback of one of the world’s most iconic animals. The heroes in this story are the vets, scientists and community patrols dedicated to ensuring that tigers and people can coexist. Happy Earth Day!

What are you doing to recognize Earth Day? Let us know in the comments below. 

Click to check out more of our reviews of documentaries or Disney content. 

  • Verdict - 8/10

2 thoughts on “Tiger (2024) Review – a satisfying & respectful salute to Earth Day”

  1. Thanks for making me aware of this documentary – immediately a must watch for me!!!
    And thanks too for noting the tiger conservation efforts in India ❤️

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