Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
The Lion King
In 1991 Disney released Beauty and the Beast, with which they brought their animation right up to date with a beautiful mix of traditional and computer-generated cartooning. The Lion King came out three years later and not only rivaled the standard of animation set by Beauty, but also became an instant Disney classic, to be ranked alongside other tearjerkers such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and, of course, Bambi (1942).
When lion King Mufasa (James Earl Jones) is killed by his brother Scar (a creepy vocal performance by Jeremy Irons) throwing him into a wildebeest stampede, his young cub Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) is tricked by Scar into believing that he caused it, so Simba flees. Forced to fend for himself Simba is taken in by meerkat Timon (Nathan Lane) and warthog Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella). Years later the adult Simba (Matthew Broderick) is reunited with childhood friend Nala (Niketa Calame as a cub, Moira Kelly as an adult) and his family's oldest friend, mandrill Rafiki (Robert Guillaume), who persuade him to return home and claim his place as head of the pride.
The film works as well as it does as it has all the deep, emotional elements of a truly powerful film, as well as plenty of action and adventure. The cub scenes will really appeal to children, while the outstanding animation won't fail to wow the adults. The film also uses a classic story arc as the carefree cub grows into a powerful lion.
Backed by a catchy score by Elton John, that includes Circle of Life and Can You Feel the Love Tonight, the film is very moving - Mufasa's death can and will reduce grown men to tears. Luckily, Timon and Pumbaa are a wonderfully side-splitting comic relief duo, as are Rowan Atkinson's wise-cracking hornbill Zazu, and the cackling hyenas that are beautifully well created by Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin and Jim Cummings. It's a good thing the comic relief is present, otherwise everyone who has ever bought a video or DVD copy of the film would demand it be sold with a box of tissues.
With all these elements and more combined it's easy to see why The Lion King was the highest grossing animation of all time (with box office takings of over $780 million) until the release of Finding Nemo nine years later, and also why the film deservedly became an instant classic.
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Jeremy Irons, Niketa Calame, Moira Kelly, James Earl Jones Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Robert Guillaume, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, Madge Sinclair, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Cummings, Jason Weaver, Joseph Williams.
Oscars: Best Original Score (Hans Zimmer), Best Original Song (Can You Feel the Love Tonight - Elton John, Tim Rice).
Oscar nominations: Best Original Song (Circle of Life - Elton John, Tim Rice), Best Original Song (Hakuna Matata - Elton John, Tim Rice).