Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Lion King is King Once Again!

On June 24, 1994 Disney brought to the big screen another animated film.  For the the first time in a while Disney took the risk to go beyond the typical princess driven film that brought them success and focused on a film that delved into the nature of animals in the jungles of Africa.  The film was called The Lion King.  The Lion King centered around centered around a lion family and their role as royalty in the jungle. The father, Mufasa,  the mother Sarabi, and the birth of their young lion cub Simba.

As a young child I do not remember this Disney film as much as the others, but I know that begged and pleaded to go this film.  I loved everything Disney when I was a kid, and remember the golden age of Disney during my youth, which started with The Little Mermaid, then Beauty and the Beast then Aladdin, which all lead up to The Lion King.  I went to see The Lion King (in 3-D) tonight and it was like reliving my childhood.  I got goosebumps, and sun began to rise and the music for the song "The Circle of Life" began to play.  The moment when Simba was lifted in the air made giddy like a nine year (I was nine when the film was released).  I have simulated that moment with friends while doing show tunes karaoke in both Chicago and Columbus because of my height and that moment always brings a smile to my face.

This film has so much power and emotional heft whether that be through the sensation score and songs or through the voice actors who provided the emotional context of the characters.  The score by Hans Zimmer is so lasting and memorable.  Elton John reworked three songs along with Tim Rice two of which "The Circle of Life" Can You Feel the Love Tonight"and his versions were not only huge radio hits, but they were just as beautiful as the song versions in the film.

The voice actors for the film were wonderful.  James Earl Jones, who has one of the most recognizable voices ever played Mufasa (the first king) and his fatherly love and voice is so heartwarming.  Jeremy Irons does the voice for Scar, Mufasa's brother, and malicious tones and classically trained acting helps makes this more than a cartoon.  Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella voice Timon and Pumba and steal the second half of the film.  Other actors who did voice work for the film were Matthew Broderick (adult Simba) Whoopi Goldberg (Shenzi-a hyena), and many more.

Watching this film tonight was like going back in time.  I sat in the theatre wearing my 3-D glasses singing and saying the lines in the film like I were a nine year old kid again.  This was one of the most fun times I have had at the movies in a long time and it did what film should do, capture an element of time and make you feel as though you are have a completely magical experience.  I felt the love tonight!

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