Animated films have always had a place in the hearts of American moviegoers. Children love them for their beautiful backdrops, their simple stories, and, often, their colorful music. Adults enjoy them as well, and for much the same reason. And no company has produced more beloved animated features than Disney. From Snow White to Aladdin, from Robin Hood to Tarzan, Disney keeps the hits coming. And yet, not until The Lion King did they produce a film that was not only loved as an animated movie but also became a Hollywood blockbuster, grossing more money than any other animated film of the 20th century. It truly is the king of all Disney pictures.
The story of this wonderful animated musical is as classic as the film itself would eventually become; a outcast prince must return home to take his rightful place and protect his people. However, they are not people, but lions. Simba, son of the great lion king Mufasa, knows that someday he will be king. But his evil uncle, Scar, has other plans. Together with his gang of laughing hyenas, Scar plots to take the throne. Simba must accept who he is and join the circle of life if he is to take his rightful place among the great lion kings.
As with most animated films, the plot seems a little silly at first; lions fighting each other to become king. But as the story unfolds, and as the music begins, the film doesn’t seem silly at all. Wonderful and hilarious characters are introduced throughout the film, created legendary moments and movie-lines that will be repeated for a hundred years. And the music is beyond great. Songs like “Circle of Life”, “Be Prepared”, “Hakuna Matata”, and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” are both catchy and original, leaving audiences humming tunes that they will never forget. An excellent story paired with phenomenal music, Disney strikes cinematic gold.
As good as it was, it was still an animated film. The cast could only do so much with the dialogue, and it’s always strange when a character has two different voices, one for lines and one for music. But The Lion King is a spectacle that has no rival, a film that goes beyond animation into the realm of moving art. Give your inner child a gift and watch this film.
My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰