Lion King Roars Again

The Best Film. Ever. End Of.

1994. You’re a 3 year old again. Not that you remember this because you are now 20 if you were born in 1991 and you can’t remember that far back. What you can remember is this; every bedtime, putting on the Lion King VCR, that scratchy, jumpy video, wishing that it doesn’t get chewed up in the player and hoping you rewound it the night before, so you don’t have to sit there for 10 minutes and wait for it to get back to the beginning. Oh you DVD’s and Blu-Rays, you, what a novelty you still are.

The film starts. Excitement runs through your veins, you hear the start-up music, Zazu flies across your screen. And it starts. The magical journey of Simba’s life, the ups and serious downs that make you sob like a baby over and over again.

The soundtrack, written by Elton John and Tim Rice, with original score by the exceptional Hans Zimmer, does nothing but remind you of the Sega Megadrive Lion King game, the glitchy new technology, that would infuriate you because you couldn’t complete various levels, but every scene of the Lion King provides a memory of  jumping on Giraffe heads and being swung by Monkeys to the tune of ‘I just can’t wait to be King’ and Timon saying ‘It starts’ at the end of the loading screen. This film is not just a film. It is a memory of a childhood filled with Disney.

And it starts again. This time in 3D,  17 long years later. Even more magical and fantastic than before. And it reached our home screens again on November 7 re-released on Disney Blu-Ray and DVD; the Diamond Edition.

Your eyes begin to fill as if you are a 10 year old at DisneyLand for the first time, and this is before the film even has time to start. Tinkerbell flies over the, in the instance of Lion King, rich orange castle on a contrasting black backdrop and you hear “aaa winya…” except no one really knows the words, they just know the feeling, the feeling that they are about to watch the greatest Disney film ever to exist. Sit tight for 1hour and 29 minutes of greatness.

Lion King was produced during the Disney Renaissance, a time that began in the 1980’s and ending in the late 1990’s where Walt Disney Animation Studios returned to their most-loved fairy tales in a bid to get interest back into Disney films – well, that worked. Based on Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ with hints of the Bible’s story of Joseph and Moses, Simba must return to Pride Rock after running away, guilt-ridden, from his father Mufasa’s death to avenge his Uncle Scar who has become King of the Pride Lands in Simba’s absence.

This film is a true to form Disney love story between Simba and Nala, the film follows a heartfelt and tissues necessary death, (as usual in all Disney films, except for once it’s a father and not a mother, and not within the first 15 seconds of the film) unusual friendship with Timon and Pumbaa and a final fight scene where good must triumph over evil.

Following Disney’s first 3D movie, G-Force in 2009, a movie that marked the first scripted live-action 3D movie with Disney Digital, the 32nd Disney Classic was to be put under the same fateful torture that all 2D films seem to be enduring.

Linda Sharps, a Mother who describes herself as a woman who lives “in the Seattle area with her family, where she works from home while wrangling two small children always carrying a caffeinated beverage in hand and a LEGO embedded in her foot” expresses her views or sarcasm on Disney venturing into 3D on blog-page cafemom.com: “Finally someone is bringing that necessary extra dimension to a much-hated collection of movies that has bored children throughout the ages. Boy, I can’t tell you how often I’ve suffered through a Disney film, thinking to myself, if only I had a migraine-inducing pair of plastic glasses perched in my face, I would enjoy this so much more!

“Too bad the studios can’t focus on coming up with exciting new worlds instead of patching cosmetic enhancements on the ones that already exist. The prospect of milking more cash from already-proven films is just one more reason we’re going to continue seeing a decline in Hollywood creativity and risk-taking. To me, that’s even worse than the idea of watching a beloved Disney movie from behind a pair of uncomfortable glasses.”

The only bonus is you get to cry behind shades… in the dark… and can claim you have a cold to cover up the sniffing.

No matter how much the world dislikes the, clearly un-fashionable, 3D glasses, Lion King racked up $71.9 million gross by the end of the month in September after its re-release. No wonder then, that Disney and Pixar are planning to re-release The Little Mermaid, Monsters Inc, Beauty and the Beast and Finding Nemo in that wonderful new technological feature; ‘headache in 3D.’

At least children world-wide are able to live the way their parents did. In the magical world of talking animals and cheerful song of ‘hi ho hi ho it’s off to work I go’ and ‘With a smile and a song..’ because I for one, was worried they were missing out.

“You follow old Rafiki he knows the way.”

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