Starring Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Nathan Lane and Rowan Atkinson. Directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff. 89 minutes. G
Ever since this whole 3D craze exploded, I’ve hated it. I gave it a chance and the extra $3 per ticket has never been worth it. (Not even for Avatar.) On top of that, I’m not too crazy about The Lion King either. But I ended up seeing The Lion King 3D. And it was good. Really good.
Now, you probably know the story of the award-winning film (and if you don’t, our Guest Fille wrote about it last month), so that’s not what I’m going to talk about. I’m going to talk about it being in 3D.
3D has a rep for being a sleazy money-making ploy—because a lot of the time it is and we all know it—which is exactly what this film sounded like from the start. Disney decided to re-release the highest grossing 2D animated film in history in 3D for a two-week theatrical run, the month before it’s also to be re-released on Blu-ray and DVD. Combined with the fact that this film was, like I said, 2D, I imagined the 3D version to be like looking at layers of paper, like a cheap stage design on the set of the high school play. After reading much praise from the blogosphere of Beauty and the Beast 3D, I was a little more hopeful, though not completely convinced. I went into this film nearly dreading the hour and a half ahead. But I came out, shockingly, praising it.
As a review of Beauty and the Beast 3D highlighted, Beauty and the Beast worked so well in 3D thanks to the Computer Animation Production System (CAPS), which in short means that the film was already animated in layers. The Lion King was done the same way. With shrubbery in the foreground, the setting sun in the background and Simba in the centre, several scenes were so naturally suited to 3D. This is also where I take issue with a lot of the criticism of this film’s 3D version that say that 3D in no way improved the original Lion King. 3D actually enhances the original animation, not only in its overall look but also in recognition of the amazing work that Disney put into this film from the start.
As cliché as it sounds, sometimes I felt as I was actually sitting at the edge of that stream, or that I could reach out and touch a bird soaring above the savannah. Isn’t that exactly what 3D is supposed to do? Yet I’ve never felt that with a 3D film until now.
I’ve seen this film countless times but 3D brings a freshness to this 17-year-old film that re-releasing it in 2D alone could not. And like others who have praised, it’s also reaching a new audience, modernizing a classic and bringing nostalgia to those that grew up with it.
Anyway, I’m up late on a night before an early class after an already exhausting day because this film is only in theatres for one more week. And you really need to see it. A