THE LION KING
BY: Guest Fille, Marissa Medford
WHAT it’s about: It’s Hamlet for kids. When lion cub Simba is born, he takes the spot for next-in-line to the throne from his jealous uncle Scar. As the king-in-training grows up, he becomes more and more excited about his future as ruler of Pride Rock. He even sings a song about it. However, Scar devises a sneaky scheme to kill Simba’s father Mufasa and frame the cub for the murder. Simba falls for it and runs away, leaving Scar to become dictator and king of Pride Rock.
WHO’S in it: It features the voices of an all-star cast: Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Nathan Lane, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, Jim Cummings.
WHEN it came out: 1994.
HOW come you haven’t heard of (or just seen) it before: When the film first came out, it was a massive box office hit. Seventeen years later, you’d be lucky to find it at your local rental store. Plus, it’s locked in the Disney vault. Although parents might remember it, this generation is missing out on the soon-to-be classic.
- Songs by Elton John and music by Hans Zimmer (who most recently worked on the Pirates of the Caribbean and Nolan’s Batman series). The film won both a Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Score. John also won an Oscar for Best Original Song, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”.
- Like they did with Bambi, artists studied real animals to create the likeness and movements of Simba, Mufasa and company. Some of the artistic crew also took a trip to Africa to study the setting for the beautiful scenery we see in the film’s final result.
- Characters that connect with the audience despite being animated animals.
- Creative cinematography. A good example: when Simba returns to Pride Rock. The scene shows him running through the desert with long-shots, intense close-ups of his feet and a mix of in between shots.
- The Timon (Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella) comedic duo. (They also make bugs look like a good snack.)