The Lion King – Daily Movie Review (08.01.2013)
Review of The Lion King (1994) by the Walt Disney Studios
It’s the circle of life. Lion Mufasa is king of his land in Africa. His son Simba is sure to inherit this kingdom one day. This is much to the disdain of the king’s brother Scar. To become king himself Scar murders Mufasa with the help of the hyenas Shenzi, Banzai and Ed. Also Scar tricks Simba into thinking the death of his father is his fault. Plagued with guilt Simba goes into exile where he meets the warthog Pumbaa and the meerkat Timon. Will Simba and his new friends reclaim the kingdom? Or will Scar forever reign with terror.
Lion King was extremely successful at the box office when it was released, which took everyone by surprise. Disney thought it was more of a risky project and deemed the simultaneously developed Pocahontas their next surefire hit. Yet it was Lion King that conquered the hearts of adults and children alike and endures as a classic. Need proof? Read the reviews by CutTheCrap, Movie Nation or The Archway, if you don’t take my word for it.
The story heavily draws inspiration from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which is always a good thing :-). This also means Lion King is one of the most dramatic Disney movies. Meanwhile the plot has a lot of emotional depth with the classic father / son story. Yet it is also about unlikely friendships. Timon and Pumbaa become Simba’s most unlikely allies. These two are voiced by Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella. Both do tremendous jobs. It is no wonder their characters have gained a very loyal fanbase themselves and even spawned a TV series. Matthew Broderick as Simba does a very solid job as well. Fun fact: In Germany Disney often uses c-list celebrities for their German dubs. Sadly The Lion King is no exception so the German dub is pretty bad :-(. For me this is no problem, since I only watch movies in their original language anyway. But dear Americans: Take pity on all German fellows who have to watch this with a German dub :-).
What else is there to say? As said for a Disney movie The Lion King is very dramatic and it can even be a bit dark at times. That is not to say there is not a lot of fun, too. Timon and Pumbaa take care of the comic relief mostly. The animation also looks stunning. Watch the Blu-ray and you will be astonished at how modern this film still looks. Even the converted 3D is surprisingly good, giving many scenes a lot of depth.
In my opinion The Lion King may very well be Disney’s best animated film. It clearly marks the high point of the Disney Renaissance. You can watch this movie with your kids and they will love it. But due to the drama and emotional story it has enough depth for adults as well.
My Score 9 /10