“If you haven’t seen this film before, you must go and see it. If you have seen it before, the statement still stands…”
I am not about to critically analyse The Lion King. It’s a double-Oscar winning, timeless classic, which touched the hearts of children and adults alike upon its 1994 release, and has continued to do so ever since. Therefore, I am merely looking at the film from a contemporary perspective, and how it has been enhanced by the use of 3D animation.
The Lion King follows the life of Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas/Matthew Broderick) who, following the death of his father King Mufasa (James Earl Jones), escapes into exile, having been made to feel accountable for his father’s death by his evil uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons), who then proceeds to take over the helm. Years later, Simba must return to his pride, and become what was always intended of him; the King. But in order to claim back what it rightfully his, he must first defeat Scar, who, on a side note, is much camper than I seem to remember.
The Lion King is arguably Disney’s final unflawed animation. The standard of cartoons since then has failed to hit the dizzying heights of this film, and with the progression into computer-animated features, collaborating successfully with Pixar animation studios, films such as The Lion King have been left behind somewhat.
For myself, just five years of age when the Lion King was first released, it has much sentimental and personal value, as I look back fondly at the film, and what it meant to me as a child and when growing up. However, there is a new generation of youngsters now who aren’t aware of the enchantment and magic of The Lion King, as it’s yet to be released on DVD, therefore making a cinematic re-release almost imperative. And to grab the attention of a new market and to compete with the existing animated productions, it makes perfect sense for the film to be released in 3D.
And, despite being a 3D sceptic, I never had any doubt that The Lion King would flourish on the big-screen in the new format that is currently dominating modern cinematic blockbusters. The Lion King is a colourful and vivacious film, depicting the natural beauty and vibrancy of the wilderness. Scenes such as the infamous stampede where Mufasa loses his life, were always going to look incredible enhanced in 3D and placed on the big-screen. Not to mention the ominous battle scene at the end, or the effervescence during “I just can’t wait to be King”, all of which looks incredible.
I think that the biggest compliment you can pay to the film is that you can’t tell of any key differences, making this thoroughly pleasing experience a true testament to the original feature. Of course the 3D elements augment the movie in a visual sense, but the film remains equally as poignant, heart-rending and enjoyable as it has always been.
It is the best experience I have ever had watching this film (I’ve seen it a lot of times, trust me) and for that reason I can’t recommend it any higher. Hopefully more classic Disney productions will follow suit, and be re-released in cinemas, allowing us the chance to see them all over again, regardless of whether or not they are in 3D. If you haven’t seen The Lion King before, you must go and see it. If you have seen it before, the statement still stands.
In fact, the only negative aspect to 3D that comes to mind, is that when wiping away tears (continuously in my case) it makes it all that much harder and less discreet when having to do so underneath a considerably discernible pair of plastic glasses.