Rating: 10 out of 10
By: Emily Kellas
Without fail every time the sun rises over the lush African safari and the chorus strikes up, chills run down my spine, and awe crosses my face. The Lion King, originally released in 1994, was re-released in theaters this weekend in 3D. I’ll admit my skepticism about the technology and the way it would affect this beloved film, but to my surprise it truly made for a thrilling theater experience. Sitting in that creaky chair staring up at the screen, it felt as if I had never grown up, as if I had remained four years old for the last 17 years. Directed by Roger Allers, and Rob Minkoff the film is voiced by the talents of Matthew Broderick, Jonathon Taylor Thomas, Jeremy Irons, and James Earl Jones. As this re-release proves a good movie remains good and becomes phenomenal as time pushes forward and new generations of movie-goers fall in love with it all over again.
Simba (Broderick/Thomas) is the young cub of the king of pride rock, Mufasa (Jones), and is set to inherit the throne. Scar (Irons), Mufasa’s brother, is enraged by the birth of the young lion as his chance to become king lessons. When Mufasa dies in a heart wrenching “accident” Simba runs away, blaming him-self for his father’s death. In his absence the pride land is taken over by Scar and his hyena’s, decimating the area and driving out all of the food. The prides only hope lies with the return of Simba, something he seems unwilling to do.
The Lion King, loosely based on the Shakespeare classic Hamlet, is a well-written and conceived film that goes far beyond the constraints of an animated cartoon. The characters are three dimensional, and complex, while simultaneously comical for the children. Borrowing from a classic, the story has become a classic in its own right. The compelling use of safari animals to tell a story of unwavering love, and unyielding guilt creates a film far better than any critic could have predicted. Beyond the intricacies of the plot and characters this film is just visual stunning. The camera shots and angles come together to form goose bumps on every moviegoer in the theater. To this day I hold my breathe through the entire opening moments, just from sheer awe, and only exhale when the screen cuts suddenly to the opening title.
No matter your age, The Lion King impresses on all levels and has been changing the way animated films have been viewed since 1994. It is the “king” of animated films and has not only become a stirring movie but a wildly popular and exquisite stage show. The Lion King will continue to be a go-to film for families for the next 17 years and beyond. So gather up the family, grab the 3D glasses and prepare to laugh, cry, and be impressed as you watch Disney’s The Lion King.