It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
The logic is persuasive. The African countries are broke and cannot afford to spend millions of dollars on game preservation out of the goodness of their hearts - not when their human populations are crying out for food, shelter and education. By banning big-game hunting, these countries remove a responsible presence from the wild: the presence of guides, game wardens and the hunters themselves. That leaves those areas open for the predations of poachers, who in the last decade have all but destroyed the African elephant.
"The game must pay for itself," a veteran hunter argues in this film, one night while he sits with a group of visitors from America. "If game hunting is legalized, there will be an economic incentive for protecting the game and the preserves where the game lives." Butler backs up this assertion with some convincing facts and figures: Whenever hunting has been forbidden, he says, wild animal populations go down, not up.
That is the argument of the film. The content of the film is somewhat less impressive, and on the basis of the evidence available from the screen, it is possible to guess that Butler and his team were not able to get all of the shots or sequences to tell the story they wanted to tell. The movie is narrated, unconvincingly, by Tyssen Butler, George Butler's son, who explains that his father was taken by his grandfather on hunting trips as a boy, and that now this rite of initiation into manhood is going to be repeated in the third generation by this expedition to Africa.
Ah, but there's an even older family tradition to uphold. We learn that Butler is friendly with the descendants of President Theodore Roosevelt, the noted big-game hunter who took his own son on a yearlong hunting expedition into Africa, and that Theodore Roosevelts IV and V will be coming along on this trip, along with some of the very rifles that Teddy took along on his first expedition.