The Lion King

     The Lion King – “SHE’S GONNA EAT ME!!!”  In 1994, Disney unleashed one of its best animated classics of all time.  This movie is, without a doubt, a top 5 animated movie on anyone’s list.  The animation is visually stunning.  The story is compelling.  The music is moving and impactful.  And, the mixture of child & adult themes make this an enjoyable film for all ages.  You get a solid mixture of childishness that will keep the kids happy and there is plenty of romance, dramatic tension, and suspense sequences to keep adults engaged.  Rated 89% at Rotten Tomatoes (rating reduced due to opinions of dvd complaints) and 4.5 stars at Amazon.com, this is a real winner.  Considering that Disney releases their classics for only a limited time, don’t miss the opportunity to add this to your collection now while still available.

Plot – The film opens with Mufasa and Sarabi welcoming their new son Simba.  Mufasa’s younger bother, Scar, doesn’t show and Mufasa visits him questioning his judgment.  Scar, who is desperate to be king, expresses his treachery with veiled threats, but Mufasa maintains order.  Mufasa begins raising Simba and explaining how to be king.  Simba is naive and mischevous with his lioness best friend Nala.  Scar gets into Simba’s ear and leads him into trouble.  Scar conspires with the hyenas to get rid of Mufasa & Simba, which is the only way he can be king.  The trap is set.   However, Simba survives.  Scar advises him to run, but then sends the hyenas to kill him.  Simba escapes and joins a meerkat named Timon and a warthog named Pumbaa who teach him a different way of carefree living and avoiding responsibility.  Simba keeps his status a secret.  Years pass and, while Pumbaa is tracking food, a lioness is after him….Simba races to the rescue and it’s Nala.  She informs what Scar has done to their home with the hyenas.  Another friend of Mufasa, the wise Rafiki (a mandril monkey) tracks him down and shows him the way.  Simba rushes home.  Rafiki informs Nala, Timon, & Pumbaa that he is returning and the rush to help him.  Arriving back, they see how horrible it is.  Simba challenges Scar, who is backed by the hyenas.  Scar tries to charge Simba with Mufasa’s death and eerily gets Simba into a similar position when Scar reveals his treachery.  Simba recovers and forces him to confess and the epic battle begins between Simba and Scar while the lionesses charge the hyenas.  Order is now restored and Simba takes his place as the lion king with Nala by his side.

Commentary – As stated, this is one of the best animated movies of all time.  Although, kid friendly, there are many adult themes to keep adults involved…particularly if you are a fan of animation.  There are veiled references to dark time periods in world history regarding of Scars attempt to become king and the depths of treachery he is willing to go to.  Children will not get the reference, but any adults who understand history will.  Disney will not let this film be on the market for much longer, so if you haven’t obtained a copy…get it now.  This is a film for your library and one you will enjoy watching time & again.

Trivia – Controversy surrounded the film as aspects were virtually identical to the Japanese anime show “Kimba, The White Lion”.  Disney officially claimed the similarities as coincidental.  Yoshihiru Shimizu rejected urges to sue Disney due to their company being small & weak and Disney having top lawyers and it wouldn’t be worth the expense.  There are rumors that Tezuka Productions were paid to not challenge Disney, but this is not confirmed.  Additionally, hyena biologists were upset with the portrayal of hyenas in the film and one actually sued Disney for “defamation of character” for the animals.

*** Just click the images to check out “The Lion King” at Amazon.com ***

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4 Comments on “The Lion King”

  1. Hiromi says:

    Hello! I came to this wonderful movie-review blog of yours from your fabulous wife’s one.
    I don’t see movies very often, but of course I love seeing good movies, so your review helps me a lot to find many great movies!! Thank you so much.
    As a high school teacher, I often used good movies in class. For most English learners of any level, nothing is more attractive, entertaining, interesting and inspiring as well as educational than carefully-chosen good movies. Now I am living in the US temporarily, but after a few years I’ll go back to my country and hopefully become a high school teacher(the profession I really love) again. Until then, I’ll keep checking your review to find more and more excellent movies for both students and myself(and my kids, too!). I’m looking forward to reading more of your review!!

    • Hi Hiromi and welcome. Thank you for your comments and I hope you enjoy some of my recommendations. I try to provide only great movies (thus the blog name) and I sincerely enjoy each one that I post. In fact, I own almost all of them on dvd and watch them repeatedly, much to my wife’s disbelief. Please enjoy your time in the US and I can feel that you have a real passion for teaching. I hope you are able to be a teacher again. Students are lucky to have a teacher with that strong passion.

  2. Hiromi says:

    I’m so glad to read your sincere follow-up comments!! Thank you very much.
    I forgot to tell you that I watched this “Lion King” with my students several years ago.
    Among many movies that I showed to my students, “October Sky”(a growing-up story of a high school boy who is fascinated by rockets – and grows up to be a NASA engineer at last, based on real story) and “Sister Act 2” by Whoopi Goldberg(also featuring high school students) were by far the best. These two movies never went wrong at literally any high school regardless of its academic level.
    However, I’d love to find other great movies, too, with the help of your blog.
    Thank you again for adding one more pleasure to my life!!

    • Hi Hiromi and thank you for the recommendations. I love to hear what movies that others enjoy as well and why. Everyone has their own tastes or just sees things differently and it interests me how someone like you or others interperet a movie and it’s meaning. I’ve had a couple of great comments on a few movies. Sometimes, after hearing someone’s thoughts, I can watch a movie again with a different understanding and appreciate or gain something even more. I hope that my reviews of films helps people enjoy a movie even better as well or appreciate a style or aspect that maybe they would not focus on.


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