One of those 90’s classics that I had enjoyed during my schooldays was a beauty to watch again recently. Though the story is just an odd family drama where the less capable brother overthrows the king by deceit while his son runs away; only to return years later to undo the injustice and regain his throne. Where “Lion King” excels is getting this story out of animated animals and put in a way that kids would love.
Pride Rock in Africa is where the earth is green and animals live in peace in the reign of the great lion Mufasa (James Earl Jones) who is assisted by an old wise monkey Rafiki and a loyal bird Zazu (Rowan Atkinson). Plotting with the hyenas, Scar (Jeremy Irons) causes a wildebeest stampede and kills Mufasa while Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas/ Matthew Broderick) takes the blame for putting his father in fatality’s way.
Consequently, Simba runs away to a distant land where he grows up in the company of Timon, a meerkat and Pumba a warthog, characters so lively that their “Hakuna Matata”, the no-worry song is one of its biggest hits with its infectious positivity. In a chance encounter with his former playmate and destined lover Nala reminds him of his unfinished business at home. Wiser now, Simba returns to claim his due!
Made in times that can nostalgically be remembered as the days when animation still had the old artistic beauty with just the right mix of CGI. “Beauty and the Beast” and “Anastasia” too come from a similar time and won accolades for their Music. Though its sequels or games weren’t too appealing, the original is still a masterpiece. You can’t just miss those adorable characters, each filled with life and character!
No description of “Lion King” can be complete without a befitting praise to its songs. While Hans Zimmer won the Oscar for the best score, Elton John’s Can You Feel the Love Tonight in the credits is its best song. The judicious mix of African vocals in “Circle of Life” the deep darkness of “Be Prepared” and childish fun of “Can’t wait to be king” keep ringing much after the movie is over and even after years pass by!
With its short runtime of just over an hour, it doesn’t take away much of your time but doesn’t at all fail to take you into itself. Neatly edited, there is never a time that you get bored with it. Though technology has moved light years after Lion King, I’d still say that if you have missed watching it back then, better run and grab the DVD!
Rating 8/10: A fine animated story with lively characters and lovely music!