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08 November 2011

The Lion King (1994) (IN 3D!)

Directed by: Rob Minkoff & Roger Allers
Genre: Animation, Drama, Family
Runtime: 87 Minutes
In the 90’s, Disney redeemed their status of being a great animation studio with films like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin”. “The Lion King” was among their hits in the 90’s and to this day, it is a beautifully crafted piece of work. With delightful charm and a sincere story, it is hard not to like the film. Seeing it in 3D, and in the cinema for that matter, bring back memories of childhood, which makes Disney an important company- because it makes childhoods all the merrier.  Lion King is an undeniable classic. 

Simba (voiced first by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, then by Matthew Broderick) begins life as an honoured prince, the son of the powerful King Mufasa (voiced by James Earl Jones). The cub's happy childhood turns tragic when his evil uncle, Scar (voiced by Jeremy Irons), murders Mufasa and drives Simba away from the kingdom. In exile, the young lion befriends the comically bumbling pair of Pumbaa the warthog and Timon the meerkat, he and lives a carefree jungle life.

The story is beautiful and has a wonderful charm to it. Telling the story of Simba, and his journey shows an adolescent journey of facing your past and becoming an adult. We of course, will never forget the tragedy that happens during the film that had people in tears, including the adults (secretly I was one of them). “The Lion King” is a powerful film because of how enchantingly whimsical it is. It has the perfect blend of humour, drama, and fantasy, and remains all the more believable. The story is purely timeless and will resonate through the ages as classic. It is the ultimate good V.S. evil story and it is easy to see why the film is so likeable.

Obviously, some may question how someone can feel emotionally effected by a film about talking animated animals. Well, Disney are the masters of projecting human characteristics onto animals, and makes the emotion overwhelmingly believable. That is why this film is astonishing. It stands as a firm film not just for kids, because I am sure adults enjoy it just as much as kids do, if not more. It is an emotionally stirring film, which makes it all the more enjoyable and lovable. 

Disney are known for their heart-breaking and touching films like “Pinocchio” and “Bambi”. As I sat with my 3D glasses, powerful emotion was thrown at me and I could not stop myself from shedding a few tears. The death of Mufasa everyone knows about, and the scene is so emotionally touching it chokes you up. There is no complexity to it and the emotion is magically sincere. It is what amazes me about animation and film in general; the emotions it gives the audience.  In addition, the story is universal of its concept- the circle of life. We see Simba go from boyhood to manhood and acceptance, which is why the film is so popular. The film ends magnificently reminding you of how it started and truly shows the film represents the circle of life. 

The animation is unforgettable. The original version of the film was filled with florescent and bright colours, but the 3D seemed to have darkened all that which was reasonably disappointing. The 3D elements, however, where put to pretty good use. It added the element of location and seeing some of that foreground stuff made you feel like you there a little more. The animation is vividly drawn and seeing Pride Rock in all its glory was a beautiful sight indeed.  The 3D version may not be superior, but the film is still magnificent. In addition, h "morning report" musical number is removed from the new version, which while it is not the best song, it is still annoying they removed it.

Like most Disney films, I have seen this film many times which brings me to saying it is a classic. It is re-watchable, lovable, heart-warming and sincere for all ages. Even after the 5th or 6th viewing, the film still manages to entertain and make you feel happiness and sadness. I am happy that Disney decided to give it a re-release because it gave me a chance to see it on the big screen, also making it the first traditionally drawn animation film I have seen in a cinema. The experience was glorifying and cheerful and it is good they are keeping the spirit of the film alive. 

The characters of the film are blissfully wonderful. To begin with, Mufasa is an amazing father figure as we see his bonding with his son with that deep resonating voice rom James Earl Jones. The later Simba, voiced by Mattew Broderick was nothing short of great voice acting. As for our villain, we have Scar voiced by Jeremy Irons. Scar is one of the best Disney villains whose ice-cold emotions make him a character that you hiss at on screen. Filled with evil and hate, he makes a terrific antagonist. 

The film has an excellent voice cast all together. Supporting the main cast, we have Nathan Lane, the voice of Timon, Whoopie Goldberg, the voice of Shenzi (one of the hyenas) and Rowan Atkinson as Zazu. It has one of the greatest voice collaborations of the Disney films from the 90’s surely.  All the characters are wonderfully memorable and are the ones you remember years later after viewing form your childhood. 

One undeniable great thing about lion king is the music. That outstanding soundtrack from Hans Zimmer is electrifyingly beautiful: especially the highly memorable intro music. “The Lion King” has good music throughout and delightful musical numbers that have so much charm, you simply cannot resist them. You have “I just can’t wait to be king” and “Hakuna Mattata”, which are enjoyable musical numbers that are simply fun and charmingly bright. 

I am going to go ahead and give credit to the directors of this film for unfolding the story’s narrative beautifully. Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers did an excellent job in projection this marvellous story to screen and should be appreciated.

Here we are, 17 years later and the legacy of lion king goes on. I hope today’s young audience appreciates and enjoys this gem of a film and it is undoubtedly a modern classic. “The Lion King” is the kind of film that does not age throughout the years and has a timeless charm. It is a highly entertaining, richly animated film that has just as much emotion as a live-action film, and has the perfect mixture of character and story, making it one of the most delightful family movies to drench the screen;  It is no masterpiece, but it has a charming story with crisp animation.

My Rating: 9/10


  1. An excellent review of a timeless film. I do not believe this is playing here still and I will be beating myself up over missing it at the theater.

  2. Awesome review! Agree with everything you've said here, nice job.

  3. Great review dude one of my favorite Disney films.

  4. amazing review of my all time favourite animated film. I watched the film about a month back, and the mufasa death scene had me in tears, that scene just perfectly portrays the sadness and emotional intensity that Simba is experiencing. I really want to see this in cinemas now!

  5. You definitely should and the sincerity of emotion it portrays is amazing. thanks for reading :)

  6. Although The Lion King is not my favourite Disney movie (falling instead in the #2 spot with Aladdin as #1), I think this represents the company at their prime in terms of quality, and it has the best traditionally drawn animation I have ever seen, as well as some of the best songs. Two other things I liked about the film were the fact that it had the balls to kill off a parent on screen and have him stay dead, and it had the villain be temporarily successful in achieving his goals (and I like that once Scar gets his power, he is utterly inept with regards to using it). Jeremy Irons' performance is gold too. excellent review of one of my favourite movies of all time

  7. the animation certainly was brilliant and when you put it that way, it does have balls. Thanks for all your recent comments, much appreciated!

  8. animation superb....i watched the movie twice...worth watching



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