There was a period from 1984-1994 where a team of artists and animators worked together to create what would now be known as some of the best movies the Walt Disney Company had to offer. Such classics like "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," and "Aladdin" were released during this time. The last film to be released during this golden age of Disney was called "The Lion King." It was a huge success, financially and critically. To this day, it's the highest grossing hand-drawn animated film of all time. Many critics and fans alike call it their favorite in animation. 16 years later Disney has re-released it for a second time but this time with a more modern touch. Which is...3D! So, is the movie as wonderful and joyous as it was originally? Let's find out.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the for the past sixteen years you know what this movie's about. Everyone knows the plot of "The Lion King." The story centers around a young lion named Simba who aspires to be king of the animal kingdom some day just like his father, Mufasa. But when Simba's uncle Scar becomes jealous of Mufasa he deliberately throws him off a cliff into a stampede and kills him. Simba is ashamed because he thinks the death of Mufasa os his fault and is told by his Uncle Scar to "run away and never return."
To me, the heart of "The Lion King" is after Simba leaves the gorge and goes into an exotic jungle to meet his pals to be, Timon and Pumbaa. From the time when there's hilarious, introductory voice-over work from Nathan Lane to the point when the three characters are singing "Hakuna Matata," dancing, and having fun is an example of when true Disney magic is put up on screen. It's one of those rare moments you'll find in a movie. It's something that sticks with you for a long, long time. It isn't necessarily the storytelling, animation, or music, but all of those things put together in which make that scene put a look of happiness on every audience member's face.
There's something that's taken away from the film seeing it now. It's not the 3D rendering. I like it a lot. There's even a few surprise moments in here where things really pop out at you. For the first time in a long time, the selling point doesn't look a financial gimmick as the 3D blends in quite nicely to the sixteen year old film reel. The thing that takes away from the theatrical re-release is the fact that it was a theatrical release. It wasn't nearly as special watching it with a group of strangers as it was watching it while sitting on the couch with my family at home. This special element isn't existent because when you go see the movie in the theatre you feel like you're going to see a new movie that probably isn't going to be a classic. But when you watch it at home you feel like you're going back to your childhood. My best suggestion for the people who want to see "The Lion King 3D" is not to go to the theatre, but buy the 3D DVD, curl up on the the couch with your family or whoever and see it at home. It's the best way to do it. If you don't have 3D that's ok. It's always a great movie while watching it in the comfort of your own home, no matter what format.
This movie is such a classic. Everything from its beautiful animation, memorable music, to its bold method of storytelling that flows perfectly so that children and adults can, not just sit through the film, but also be fully submersed in its narrative. It's lovable characters make the movie a Disney classic, not to mention a classic in all of film history. It's in a class all by itself. "The Godfather" of hand-drawn animation has gotten massive recognition over the years and deservedly so. To this day, it shines with the perfect blend mature thematic elements, laugh out loud humor, and Disney magic.